Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-National Assembly Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi will welcome his counterpart the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, Maria Lohela, to parliament for a four-day visit. Lohela and her delegation will be in the country up until Friday. They were expected to arrive in Windhoek yesterday. She was elected in 2015 to preside over a unicameral parliament comprising of 200 members of parliament at the relatively young age of 37 years. Lohela will be accompanied by Finnish MPs Professor Pekka Puska and OlliPoika Parviainen. The official visit is reciprocal as Katjavivi, accompanied by DTA MP Elma Dienda and Swapo MP Heather Sibungo, were on a similar visit to the Finnish parliament late last year. In a statement issued yesterday, Katjavivi said Namibia and Finland enjoy a long-standing and mutually-beneficial relationship dating as far back as before Namibia’s independence. He said the visit, apart from continuing the talks on parliamentary cooperation between the two parliaments, is also meant to build on the existing relationship and to hold consultations with various government stakeholders, such as the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Ministry of Poverty Eradication, Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, on pertinent issues. According to Katjavivi, Finland has made great strides in ensuring gender equality, hence it is worth noting that 19 women were elected to the Finnish parliament way back in 1907 and they were the world’s first women MPs. “Finland became one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote, and today they are still among the top countries for women equality. Finland was voted second in the Global Gender Gap Index in women’s rights and currently is ranked number 7 on the world classification and has 84 women in parliament,” said Katjavivi. Katjavivi congratulated the people of Finland on their Independence Centenary 2017 when they commemorated 100 years of independence. “Given Finland’s good track record in tackling the scourge of gender-based violence, this visit will further encompass a joint effort to address gender-related challenges that Namibia has been grappling with,” Katjavivi said. He said among other issues to be discussed by Lohela and her delegation is to craft a joint way forward on how to combat gender-based violence in Namibia and how to transform Namibia’s parliament into a (paperless) e-parliament. Furthermore, Lohela and the Finnish embassy in Windhoek will host a women leaders’ luncheon.
2018-01-24 09:10:44 7 months ago