By John Odyek
Former Parliament Commissioner, Elijah Okupa, has been sworn in as a member of the Pan African Parliament.
Okupa, a representative of the opposition, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Kasilo, replaces Cecilia Atim Ogwal, who was appointed opposition chief whip, and therefore forfeits her PAP seat.
The function was held at the Pan African Parliament headquarters in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday.
Okupa said, “I bring to this body (PAP) a wealth of experience as I have been a Member of Parliament for 13 years.” During his tenure in Parliament of Uganda, Okupa has served on various committees including; budget, finance, presidential, foreign affairs, East African Community affairs and the Public Accounts Committee.
“I am an exposed person. Uganda and PAP should expect effective representation in matters that concern Africa in general and Uganda in particular,” he said.
The outgoing leader of delegation, Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo district), was happy about the contribution of Uganda’s delegation since they joined the institution in October 2012.
“Despite all of us being new, we were able to make a big impression and take up leadership positions,” she said.
Ogwal has been the vice chairperson of the committee on administration and financial evaluation and a member of the committee of cooperation, international relations, and conflict resolutions.
Onyango Kakoba chairs the committee on justice and human rights. Jacquiline Amongin (NRM, Ngora district) is the first vice president of the youth caucus, Barumba Rusanyia (NRM, Kiruhura district) is the rappoteur of the committee on trade; while Sam Otada (Independent) serves on the committee on transport.
“For the first time Uganda moved PAP to debate a Motion highlighting its achievements and congratulating us at 50 years of Independence,” Ogwal added.
She said that PAP appreciated Uganda for its role in stabilizing the region, through its intervention in Somalia, where AMISOM is now an African Union force.
Ogwal appealed to her colleagues to maintain a high standard of performance and to remain united.
“The (Ugandan delegation) should remain united and cohesive regardless of ideological diversities. I urge them to continue to promote the image of Uganda and to put Uganda above political party politics and personal sentiments,” she said.