TANZANIA, Dodoma The race to IPU presidency is gaining momentum as discussions continue in various Parliamentary fora, regionally and internationally this time around than ever before. The position will become vacant at the 147th IPU Assembly to be held in Luanda, Angola from 23 to 27 October 2023.
It is expected that the General Council of the IPU will elect a new President on 27th, October 2023. I therefore deem it necessary to reflect on the reasons that have generated much heat and robust discussions around the position.
First, elections for the IPU president are taking place at a time when the world is confronted with a plethora of challenges: Insecurity, climate change, abject poverty, youth and employment to mention only a few. It is expected, therefore, that the winner of the position should be a person of high caliber, competency and personality befitting those challenges. In a nutshell, holders of the position are expected to deploy parliamentary diplomacy in finding solutions to the global existential crises.
In a nutshell, the winner of the position is expected to break with the past in the manner in which the IPU has conducted itself in the past by spearheading multiple reforms.
Secondly, in line with the principle of rotation, it has fallen on the Africa Geopolitical Group to clinch the position. So far four Candidates from Africa have registered their candidatures, one from West Africa Sub Region and three others from the Southern Africa sub-Region. The competition is therefore between the two subs Regions of Africa.
The existence of three contenders, in particular, from the SADC Region has rosen worrisome concerns. As Mark 3:25 reads: “A House divided Against itself shall not stand,” there is a feeling that the SADC Region presents itself in a way that gives advantage to West Africa, with only one candidate.
In light of that the SADC Region should strive to front on candidates. And that has generated some discussions as to who among the three candidates from the SADC should renounce its candidature. Notwithstanding, any of the four candidates stands a chance of winning the election as long as they attract votes from the other five Geopolitical Groups of the IPU.
Dr Tulia’s meteoric rise and shine
On 11the May 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Stegomena Tax officially flagged off Dr Tulia’s bid for position of IPU president to High Commissioners and Ambassadors accredited to Tanzania. Her candidature was met with resounding approval. One week later, on 19th May 2023 Dr Tulia’s Candidature was unanimously endorsed by Speakers of East African Parliaments in their meeting held in Arusha on 19th May 2023.
Moreover, members of the SADC Parliamentary Forum meeting in Arusha for the 53 rd General Assembly unanimously passed a motion in support of the candidature of Dr Tulia Ackson.
In yet another striking development, the AU Council of Ministers meeting in Nairobi from 13th to 14th unanimously acceded to the request presented by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in support of Dr Tulia Ackson. These developments are in effect, positioning Dr Tulia as the sole candidate for the position of IPU presidency.
Victor Hugo, a renowned French Poet and Essayist once remarked, “There is one thing, more powerful than all the armies of the World, and that is an idea or event whose time has come”. Indeed, the time for Dr. Tulia to become President of the IPU has come.