KIGALI - The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Dr. William F. Shija, has officially invited the Rwandan Parliament to join the association.
He extended the invitation yesterday in his address to Parliament.
“I am here to officially invite the Rwandan Parliament to the Commonwealth Parliament Association. Rwanda has already passed the first criterion of joining which is becoming a member of the Commonwealth - a basic prerequisite to join the CPA,” Shija said.
Rwanda is the 54th member of the 60-year old Commonwealth club of nations.
He pointed out that both Rwanda and the Commonwealth nations have a lot to share and learn from one another, emphasizing that the constitutional provisions of the structures and operations of the Rwanda parliament are among the areas Commonwealth could as well adopt.
“I believe there are provisions that are not only important for Rwanda but also for other countries,” Shija noted.
He dwelt much on Rwanda’s fight against corruption saying that the bloc would borrow a leaf from Rwanda’s anti-corruption policy.
“The question of corruption is still troubling Africa and eating the fabric of our development; in this case we will definitely learn from Rwanda’s anti-corruption policy,” said the SG.
Shija added that Rwanda’s joining would help the country benefit from exchanging knowledge with other member states within the association, sharing of information, experiences and unity.
According to Shija, member countries are currently looking at how they can use the young generation to practice a democratic engagement, by comparing themselves with the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Rose Mukantabana said that the invitation came at a time when they were getting ready to join the association.
“We were planning to have finalized and submitted our request to join the association before the end of March,” she said.
Mukantabana added, saying that Rwanda is ready to benefit from the bloc much as the commonwealth also has a lot to learn from Rwanda.
“Definitely Rwanda has a package to offer to the Commonwealth member countries,” Mukantabana said.
If Rwanda fulfills the all the requirements in time, the country’s request may be fully approved in September this year, during the association’s General Assembly scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya.
The CPA is an organization which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights, especially among member states of the Commonwealth.
It was founded as the Empire Parliamentary Association in 1911, with its first branches being Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, with the latter branch administering the association as a whole.
In 1948, the association changed its name to the current Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and allowed all branches part in administration of the organisation.