Daily Archives: October 22, 2017

OPENING REMARKS AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 48TH CPA AFRICA REGION, BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, HON LINDIWE MASEKO

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I extend a warm and fraternal African greetings to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, her people, guests and delegates gathered here at the 48th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Africa Region Conference.

Equally, we extend a word of gratitude to you Hon Speaker of Imo State and President of the Association for agreeing to host the Regional Conference in this Economic power house of our beloved continent Africafondly known as the The Land of Greenalso known as Super Eagles in the soccer fraternity.

Your Excellency:

For decades, Nigerias name is always counted amongst the galaxy of the African conquerors who produced men and women which contributed immensely to the defeat of the monster of colonialism and shape a new path for Africas destiny. In this instance, we remember our very own founders of NEPAD, former President, Oluseng Obasanjo from Nigeria, former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Bonteflica of Algeria, the African sons who gave birth to the idea of a New Partnership for Africas Development, a policy and operational framework for African Renaissance and a predecessor for Africas AGENDA 2063 to which we premised our conference theme.

Distinguished Delegates:

When reflecting on the implications of the theme of our conference, one could not help but recollect the African saying which reads the name we carry is either a blessing or a curse

If a question was put to all of us gather here in Imo State under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, as to: What gives us our shared commonality, what should our answer be?

Would the answer be that we are a commonwealth because we speak the same language as that of our erstwhile coloniser? Or is it that we are a commonwealth because we share a common and unique destiny.

I think we would agree that fora such as this, provide us with the opportunity to address such important questions. But of course more significant than any label by which we identify ourselves, is what we can and should do to respond to the pressing and immediate reality of a shared African heritage of poverty, undervelopment, unemployment and inequality and shared African heritage of a common resolve to act together to place ourselves on a high road to success.

It is fitting that the 48th CPA Africa Region conference has assembled under the broad theme of Africas Agenda 2063 Vision and Master Plan. This theme focuses our attention on the task we set ourselves when we as Africans declared the 21st century as an African century. It also commits us to double our efforts in quest of responding to the ideal of an Africa We Want as articulated in the 8 Aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063 adopted by Heads of States and endorsed by our Parliaments.

The Africa Union has committed to this vision to integrate the ideals and goals of the continent of Africa. Agenda 2063 is both a Vision and an Action Plan, a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny.

As we strive to accomplish these goals, we must be inspired by the understanding that it is only when the people we represent repossess the right to be their own liberators that we will release the immense energy to towards the emancipating of all Africans from the curse of poverty, inequality, patriarchy and underdevelopment.

Programme Director: In the next four days, delegates will share deliberations on a number of topics aimed at identifying the role of Parliaments in the SDGs in the following areas;

Africas Renaissance: Mainstream Agenda 2063 ideals and flagship programmes into National Development Plan.

Inclusive Development: Gender mapping Africas Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Free Movement of people, goods and services: Is Africa ready for a common passport a common market and single customs and monetary union.

Silencing the guns: A Parliamentary Agenda for Peace building, conflict trauma management and the development of a new security architecture by year 2020.

Infrastructure, deficit in Africa: the challenge of mobilizing domestic resources for funding Agenda 2063 programmes

Against this backdrop, we wish to reaffirm what we resolved on during the 47th CPA Africa Region in Mauritius. As commonwealth parliamentarians in Africa, we have a responsibility to align our plans to Africas policy frameworks and find a synergy between our countries development plans, Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.

Your Excellency: during the 62nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association International conference held in London 2016, Africa region re-affirmed its commitment to the transformation of the Status of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association from a Charity based under the United Kingdom laws to an International organisation. This conference should provide a good platform to prepare for 63rd CPA International in Bangladesh where the matter will be decided. Equally, the African will contesting the position of Chairperson of CPA International. Members of the Executive Committee are on the ground to ensure that mission is accomplished.

Distinguished Delegates: Over the last four days, the Sub-committees to discuss issues pertaining to the challenge of subscription fees by Branches at both International and Regional level. Once again, I wish humbly request on branches to prioritise this matter as a pre-condition towards participation in the proceedings of the conference particularly at International level.

Conclusion

I wish to paraphrase Nigerias Ben Okri writings when he contends that if animals were able to articulate their successes they would document their own history better, hence the African proverb Until the lions have their own historians, the story of the jungle will always be told by the hunters.

It is our essential task as Members of Parliament and ordinary Africans to write our history by telling our success stories, lest we allow others to define and write our history.

It is important that we reflect on our achievements and successes despite the dissenting voices that always want to define our transition on the basis of our shortfalls.

let us continuously work as a united Africa to be able to achieve our strategic goals and be part of the change we want to see in our beloved continent.

AGENDA 2063, its vision and master plan is one African story we must tell to the nations of the world and fill the blank pages of history.

I wish the proceedings of our 48th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference unqualified success.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Former Boko Haram Hostages Stranded at Cameroon-Nigeria Border

MOZOGO, CAMEROON Boko Haram’s renewed campaign of suicide bombings in Far North Cameroon has bred suspicion that remains even as attacks have died down. Local communities are currently blocking 400 former Boko Haram hostages from returning home.

Hundreds of former Boko Haram hostages and fighters are lining up to be served food at Mozogo, on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria. They look tired and hungry.

Among them is 45-year old Asta Hamina brought into the camp a week ago by the Cameroon military. She said she was found around Sambisa forest, a former stronghold of the insurgents.

She said when she remembers the torture she went through in the Sambisa forest, she is frightened and prays that such a thing should never happen again. She said her wish is to return home and start her life all over again.

But her dream of returning home may not be achieved soon. Some of hostages have confessed that after they were taken hostage by Boko Haram fighters during attacks on their villages and taken to Nigeria, they were forced to join the jihadist group as fighters and their children were used as suicide bombers.

Arouna Abba, a community leader at Mozogo, said they are not ready to accept the former hostages in their villages for fear of being infiltrated once again by the terrorists. He said some of them may be spies or been brainwashed with Boko Haram ideology.

He said they first of all want the government of Cameroon to assure them of their security and safety. He said their resources are stretched and the economic needs of villagers who braved attacks and stayed home will increase if they allow the former hostages to return. Abba said villagers already lack water to drink and it will terrible if they share the little they have.

Some of the former hostages said they spent two years with Boko Haram and decided to flee and hand over themselves to the military or local self-defense groups. Others said they had fought for Boko Haram but chose to lay down their arms because they realized they were misled.

Mozogo is one of the Cameroon towns that have suffered severe Boko Haram atrocities, with schools, markets, churches and Mosques burned by members of the group.

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of Cameroon’s far north region is pleading with communities to receive the former hostages, and assuring them that the government will protect them.

He said many of the former hostages have assured him that they do not have anything to do with the terrorist group and are ready to contribute to building their country.

Bakari said among the returnees in the camp are 120 girls, 125 boys and many children of school age and they have been asking the UNHCR to consider either creating an orphanage or opening a school in the camp should the returnees’ stay be extended. He said Cameroon’s president, has asked for a more secured site to be provided to the returnees for the meantime.

Soldiers from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger, part of a multinational joint task force of the lake Chad Basin Commission have rolled back Boko Haram gains since last year, but the insurgency remains a potent threat.

The conflict that began in northeast Nigeria 8 years ago has left at least 25,000 people dead and led more than 2.6 million others to flee their homes.

Source: Voice of America