Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), African Region, arrived Abuja on Tuesday for its 51st annual conference.
At this year’s conference, discussions will center on the effects of COVID-19 on member states, economic stability, and security, amongst other issues.
Ms. Lydia Kandetu, the Clerk of the Namibian Parliament made the revelation while addressing newsmen shortly after presiding over the inaugural meeting of Society of Clerks-at-the-Table, an organ of the CPA that houses Clerks to the Parliament or National Assembly of member states.
Speaking on the effect of the Corona Virus on the Parliaments, Ms. Kandetu, said the conference would discuss whether to resume full sittings in member states or not, adding that Parliamentarians have been meeting at irregular sessions and visually, since the wave of COVID-19.
She added that “The COVID-19, for example, has hit us so hard. So, this is the platform where we can also discuss issues of whether we can now start meeting physically or continue visually as the case may be”.
Speaking further, Ms. Kandetu said, the Namibian Parliament, particularly, had to divide its members to sit in different rooms, because of the social distancing.
“It wasn’t very easy, but the members were understanding and we have then decided that only the parties should be represented in the chamber and other members sat at different rooms where they could also participate, it worked out very very well.
“Many companies closed. Many people lost their jobs. So many people lost their lives. A lot of people died, especially in June – July in Namibia. We have lost a lot of people.
“The conference is going to discuss the issue of the countries that were hit hard and what are the possible solutions that can come up so that each country can learn from the other country. So each country will tell a story that other countries are going to take back to their countries”, she added.
The Clerk of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Mr. Ojo Olatunde Amos, said the conference would allow member states to cross-pollinate ideas on how to solve pressing issues in their countries.
About 12 countries are expected to send representatives to this year’s CPA, where decisions on various issues will be made.
The conference will hold from 8th to 14th November 2021, with the opening ceremony of the conference expected to be done by the President of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari on Thursday, 11th November 2021.