Uganda Inaugurates IAPP

Kampala, Uganda—The inaugural assembly of the Uganda chapter of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) took place at Uganda’s Parliament Building on December 14, 2017. The occasion was graced by 21 current members of Uganda’s parliament, including Hon. Simon Lokodo, Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity; and Hon. Sam Lyomoki, who is also secretary general of the Central Organization of Free Trade Unions-Uganda (COFTU).

The ceremony started with a prayer from Gimeyi Moses, secretary general of UPF-Uganda. Frederick Wakhisi, executive director of the Kenya chapter of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), was the main speaker. Mr. Wakhisi first presented a concept papter on IAPP-Uganda, explaining its vision, mission and objectives. This was well received as it resonated very well with the numerous political, social, economic and cultural challenges experienced on the ground.

Next Mr. Wakhisi read the IAPP Founder’s Address to an audience that was calm, expectant and receptive. He offered background of IAPP as an extension of UPF activities, explaining the need for principled legislation to enhance unity and harmony within and among communities, creating a culture of peace. He intimated to the legislators that the founders of UPF/IAPP are greatly concerned about the state of the world today, which is far from ideal, and reiterated the wish of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon to see members of parliament take the lead in promoting peaceful societies. The participants welcomed the idea of IAPP and appreciated Dr. Moon for this great initiative.

Hon. Cyrus Aogon said that the IAPP has come at the right time, when Uganda most needs it. This is because Uganda’s members of parliament are currently divided over the issue of having an upper age limit on elective office; the IAPP as a non-partisan platform can therefore unite Ugandan parliamentarians. “This the best program in our parliament,” he said.

Commenting on the Founder’s Address, Hon. Dr Nsaba Buturo said that since Dr. Moon talks about a God-centered society and one family under God, he has great hope that the IAPP will help create one Uganda under God as captured in the concept paper. The members of parliament who signed the declaration launching IAPP in Uganda pledged to encourage their colleagues to join.

In his closing remarks, Hon. Simon Lokodo, Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President, said that the vision of IAPP does not discriminate between color and religion; therefore, he continued, members of Uganda’s parliament are free to join IAPP. He thanked UPF/IAPP for sponsoring this event, which has been long awaited.

Hon. Lokodo said that members of parliament handle not only political challenges but are also very instrumental in tackling social problems in the community. “Many people around the world tend to think that Members of Parliament concentrate only on political matters. In reality Members of Parliament also deal with individuals, families, groups and others with social problems very different from politics,” he stated.

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