Kisumu senator Professor Tom Ojienda has called upon the Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland to highlight action being taken by her association in compensation of African victims for human rights violations during the colonial era.
The Senior Council who was speaking in Mombasa during the Inaugural joint post election retreat between the Senate and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) said it was time leaders use their positions to end conflict within the region.
‘The Commonwealth Parliamentary association exists to promote human rights,good governance and democracy within the Commonwealth.The secretary General should tell us what the association has done to actualize reparations for historic injustices to African Countries’ he said
His remarks come in the wake of renewed efforts by the African countries to obtain reparations from European countries for the transatlantic slave trade and other colonial-era wrongs committed centuries ago.
The four-day seminar conference which was formally opened by President William Ruto was
tailored to strengthen senators understanding of parliamentary practices, procedures and processes.
The CPA comprises 53 countries that form the commonwealth with an objective of bringing parliamentarians and parliamentary staff together to exchange ideas among themselves.
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September last year,a number of Africans have been reliving the horrific experiences their kinsmen and neighbours endured under British colonial rule.
Aljazeera reported in 2022 that Evelyn Wanjiru who grew up in Nyeri,Central Kenya was named after her grandmother who passed away at 106 in 2009. The matriarch was one of the millions who suffered pain and loss during the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1960 against the British plundering of Kenyan land.
The Speaker of Senate Amason Kingi on his part expressed the need to entrench the role of parliamentarians in peace building in order to promote regional stability and stem conflict.
'The dynamics of leadership and governance are fluid and continue to thrust upon us parliamentarians, unique, fast-evolving and more challenging responsibilities; hence we can no longer be content playing the laid-back or spectator’s role in confronting new socio-economic challenges that humanity has to grapple with, by confining ourselves to law-making," noted Kingi.
During the seminar, the senators were taken through the structure, procedures and processes of select committees, diplomacy in the parliamentary context, opportunities and challenges for new and returning members.
The workshop also focused on the parliamentary procedure, powers and privileges, doctrine of separation of powers and the role of select committees in parliamentary oversight.
Founded in 1931, the Commonwealth currently comprises 56 countries representing 2.5 billion people – or one-third of the world’s population. Nearly half the members are African, including Gabon, Rwanda and Togo, which were not colonised by the British.