Gabriela Cuevas Barron lays a wreath at the Heroes’Acre in the company of Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi and Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Bernard Sibalatani.
|Story by George Sanzila
Windhoek - The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron is in Namibia for a four – day visit that is meant to strengthen relations with IPU Member countries and discuss initiatives the world’s parliamentary body has undertaken in the region. She was received today (03/02/2020) by the Presiding officers of Parliament, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi and Hon. Bernard Sibalatani.
The Mexican lawmaker, who was elected in October 2017 with overwhelming support from the African geopolitical group, is further expected to hold meetings with the Ministry of Gender equality and child welfare and President Hage Geingob among others. She visited the heroes’ acre today where she laid wreaths on the graves of late Speakers of the National Assembly, Hons. Moses Tjitendero and Theo Ben Gurirab. Baron who is also the youngest MP to hold that position since the organisation’s formation, praised Namibia’s democracy and added that the country has been an active member of the body.
Namibia joined the IPU shortly after independence in 1990 and has been actively involved in the work of the organization through the latter’s annual meetings and other activities. The 99th session of the IPU was hosted in Namibia and late former Namibian Speaker, Theo Ben Gurirab once served as the body’s President from 2008 to 2011.
The current Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Katjavivi forms part of the executive in the committee on United Nations Affairs that connects parliaments with UN activities and goals. Former chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams also served the IPU Bureau of Women Parliamentarians for two consecutive terms as its President until 2018.
Namibian MPs have contributed in several debates and resolutions, the latest being an emergency resolution at the 140th IPU Assembly in Doha, Qatar that called for urgent action to support people of the countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe that were devastated by Cyclone Idai and the lifting of Namibia’s blacklisting with several other countries as tax havens by the European Union.
The IPU Assembly that was founded in 1889 and has been in existence for more than 130 years, is a global organization of parliaments that brings together parliamentarians to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action.