Marende praises Kikwete for helping end election crisis
By Standard Correspondent
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende saluted Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete for his role in bringing peace after post-election violence.
He described Kikwete as a role model in focused leadership in Africa.
"We in Kenya recall with gratitude the role you played after the violence following the presidential election in 2007," he said during the opening of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, on Friday.
More than 800 MPs from Commonwealth countries are attending the meeting.
Kenyan delegation included MPs David Musila, Jakoyo Midiwo, Zakayo Cheruiyot, Olago Oluoch, Charles Onyancha, Shakila Abdalla and National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi.
Kikwete was in the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan-led team that negotiated a power sharing arrangement between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Marende said the conference would allow MPs from different countries to exchange ideas on good governance, peace and food crisis resolution.
The meeting, he added, would also provide an opportunity for the Commonwealth countries to evaluate if they are in step with advances in parliamentary practice.
He dismissed critics of the Commonwealth, who describe it as outdated, saying it had allowed democracy, freedom and human rights to be observed in many countries.
"In its close to 100 years existence, the CPA has acquitted itself commendably by lending support to member states that have been plagued by socio-economic and political difficulties," he said.
Kikwete, who opened the 55th CPA conference, said MPs should always be guided by the wishes of the electorate.
"Parliaments in our countries differ in sizes, functions and autonomy but they have one challenge: to speak for the people," he said.
MPs, he added, should build rather than erode fabrics of their nations by learning from each other on the essence of democracy.
He challenged the CPA to reflect on its weaknesses and find ways to correct them.
He said parliaments should address issues like the global recession, problems affecting the youth and climate change.
He asked the developed countries, which are the biggest polluters of the environment, to assist poor nations with technology, skills and finances to enable them maintain a greener and safe environment.
"Developed nations should take responsibility for pollution...they can assist the poor nations mitigate this through technology, skills and finances," he said.
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