Post Colonial Moment: CHOGM 2005

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) have been taken place the last couple of days in Valletta, Malta, on the theme, “Networking the Commonwealth for Development,” hosted by the Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. CHOGM meetings, which are held every two years bring together presidents, prime ministers and heads of state to discuss Commonwealth and global issues, and develop a consensus on collective policies and initiatives. These summits provide a unique forum for consultation at the highest level of government.

Formerly known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Commonwealth is a loose association of former British colonies, dependencies and other territories - and Mozambique, which has no historical ties to Britain.

The Commonwealth has been criticised for being an exclusive post-colonial society. However to its members it is a voluntary association of independent states which is in the business of promoting democracy, good government, human rights and economic development.

Today the Commonwealth urges richer nations to "give more than they receive" at next month's world trade talks. In their statement, the leaders urge developed countries to "demonstrate the political courage and will to give more than they receive... particularly in the negotiations on agriculture and market access, as their own longer term prosperity and security depends on such an approach".

They go on to say they recognise "developing countries must also demonstrate flexibility and commitment to ensure a successful outcome to the round".

"This is an absolutely critical moment of decision for the whole World Trade Organization. If we don't get significant movement in Hong Kong and subsequently there is a danger that the round fails. That would be disastrous for economies, both developed and developing," he told journalists in Malta.

Meanwhile as the Commonwealth summit trying to focus on crucial issues like global trade reforms and how to build more tolerant societies, now at risk of having its agenda hijacked by events in one country.

Suddenly, as an official put it, the issue of Uganda was catching fire.

One chosen tack was to encourage President Yoweri Museveni to explain himself.

At a news conference Mr Museveni flatly denied that he was trying to prevent Kizza Besigye challenging him at the polls next year.

He said he had been sent to a military court because alleged terrorist activities fell under the Armed Forces Act.

And he suggested that his government should be acclaimed by the Commonwealth because it had ended a long-running culture of impunity.


Post a Comment

<< Home