By John Odyek
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has pledged to encourage the United States Congress to return to the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Kadaga was speaking during the meeting of the Executive Committee of the 130th IPU Assembly currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.
The committee was discussing updates to membership to the IPU and efforts being taken to encourage past members to return to the IPU, said a statement from Parliament.
“The Parliament of Uganda usually has at least three committees visiting the US Congress annually. We can go with a similar message to our counterparts in the Congress,” said the Ugandan Speaker.
The US was one of the original participants in IPU activities when it begun in 1889 and formally withdrew on October 1, 1999 following divergence with the Executive Committee on matters of funding and reduced membership.
The US formally joined in 1935 when the House and Senate enacted statutory authority for US participation in the IPU.
In July 1997, Congress (through the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate) notified the IPU that, given the diminished congressional participation, the US Congress could no longer justify the annual US contribution of almost $1 million or 15% of the IPU annual budget and had decided to reduce its membership status and proposed to make an annual donation of $500,000 to support the aims of the organization.
The IPU Executive Committee did not accept the offer so, in 1998, Congress passed legislation to end US participation on October 1, 1999.
The Secretary General of the IPU Anders B. Johnsson reaffirmed that Parliamentarians listen better to their peers.