The New Times (Kigali)

29 November 2012

Rwanda: African Lawmakers Call for Dialogue in Conflict Resolution

The strife engulfing some African countries can be resolved through dialogue and compromise, MP Edna Madzongwe, the President of the Zimbabwean Senate told a continental parliamentary meet.

Madzongwe, who is also the Deputy Chairperson of the African Parliamentary Union's (APU) Executive Committee, was addressing the 35th APU conference that started in Kigali on Thursday.

"The crisis is really a challenge to governments. That's why we are calling for the use of dialogue and compromise in seeking solutions to problems," she said.

The ongoing conference revolves around two themes: strengthening democratic governance in Africa to achieve political, economical and social ability; and the role of parliaments in implementing poverty reduction strategies.

Madzongwe urged her colleagues to critically address various aspects of democratic governance, so as to devise proposals and recommendations to countries to fight poverty, unemployment, corruption, injustice, and inequalities.

"Our proposals and recommendations should focus on the need to build capacities of parliaments and parliamentarians alike, so as to enable them to fulfil their oversight role," she said.

Senate President, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, told the gathering that Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, opted for home grown solutions, and designed new structures and mechanisms to deal with the challenges including poverty eradication.

"Given where we are coming from, we have good reason to appreciate the positive results that Rwanda has registered, from the Genocide until today, in terms of good governance and poverty reduction."

Speaking on the sidelines of the session, MPs noted that conflict was derailing Africa's progress and called for cooperation, among other remedies.

A Sudanese lawmaker, Ahmed Abd Al-Rahman Mohamed, the Secretary General of the Council for International People's Friendship said: "It [conflict] has continued for so long a time and that's why the outcome has been misery and tragedy. Poverty is behind all these problems and we all need to be concerned. As a result of these disputes, really, Africa [has] paid a lot, a high price - damage to people and to property."

The Sudanese legislator urged Africans to take responsibility for their problems that include poverty and illiteracy.

Ali Osman, an Ethiopian MP, called for cooperation in tackling poverty and building democracy.

"The framework has to be cooperation, transparency and coming together and talking about the problems of the people and nations together. The best solution nowadays is for Africa to come together to build democracy and economic integration," Osman said.

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