"I promise you it will be much better than this, if you come back, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga tells delegates at a dinner.
64TH COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE
By Joseph Kizza
KAMPALA - Uganda's Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has invited delegates of the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to visit Uganda again, promising an even better experience if they return.
"We hope you go back with good memories," she told her guests during a cultural-themed dinner at the lakeside in Munyonyo on the penultimate day - and last day of business - of the week-long conference.
"We hope you come back soon - for holiday, not for work. And I promise you it will be much better than this, if you come back."
Kadaga particularly thanked the ministries of foreign affairs, works and public service - as well as other Government agencies - for throwing their weight behind the conference.
"Let me thank the Clerk to Parliament for all the work done. Members of Parliament, thank you so much, [and] the organising committee. And I want to thank all the chairpersons for everything that has gone on well."
The Speaker then followed up for her brief discourse with a cheerful invitation to everyone onto their feet for the last act of the lively evening: a dance.
"And it is compulsory," she delightfully added, her titter drowned by the ensuing ululations and applause from the enlivened crowd.
And as if on cue, just as she wished the delegates "journey mercies as you travel back to your countries", the DJ unleashed Chimora's addictive Nangu U-Mandela, one of the most popular hits by the 1980s South African bubblegum music group.
Speaker Kadaga, the leader that she is, instinctively walked down off the stage and onto the dance floor, and waved the rest over to join her for the groovy, jolly-good session as the music flowed generously into the night.
It was a fitting conclusion to an evening punctuated by effervescent performances by the Ghetto Kids, Larakaraka dancers and Burundian drummers over a sumptuous meal as guests delighted in the festive evening aura.
Pupils from Bwindi Primary School were among the cast of an evening of cultural immersion, their powerful production in the form of the Ekizino dance drawing equally thunderous applause from the entertained crowd.
The elaborately ornated venue at Munyonyo had guests adhere to the culture theme dress code. From agbadas to gomesis, kanzus to saris and kurtas to sulus, every Commonwealth region was represented in this context.
The closing cultural dinner was organised by Parliament as a tribute to all the delegates that have attended the conference, which Uganda has hosted for the second time, having first done so in 1967, five years into life after independence.
Saturday was the final day of meetings and workshops.
Earlier in the day, delegates discussed such issues as how different Commonwealth parliaments carry out the oversight function, as well as a session on post-legislative scrutiny. Here, Uganda's Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah voiced the need for a legal framework for post-legislative scrutiny, which he said is currently done in an adhoc manner.
Delegates also looked into how updated benchmarks for democratic legislatures by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) have been used to bolster the capacity of Commonwealth parliaments.
During the conference's general assembly, resolutions from the various meetings were presented and adopted, with each country thereafter required to domesticate the resolutions based on their local laws.
Here are som of the recommendations of the CPC General Assembly:
● Need to provide skills to local communities by countries that provide aid
● Manage natural resources to promote better investment
● Protect intellectual properties in music and arts industry for purpose of revenue generation
● Need to improve discussion on climate change
● Need to change education curriculum so as to enable youth get practical skills
● Need to work on the mindset of the youth to utilize all available opportunities
● Strategic placement of youth to seek employment in tourism
● Govt policies to be realigned to needs of the youth
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