Speaker of Zambia receives Commonwealth Parliamentarian of the Year 2023 Award at 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Ghana
The Commonwealth Parliamentarian of the Year 2023 Awards have been announced at the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Accra, Ghana.
Hon. Nelly Mutti, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia has been announced as the recipient of the 2023 Commonwealth Parliamentarian of the Year Award in recognition of her parliamentary service and her commitment to transparency in parliamentary processes. This nomination also emphasised the Speaker’s contributions to upholding the rule of law and her dedication to ensuring the citizens of Zambia have quick and easy access to information. The Speaker is also a strong supporter of the work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Zambia, in the CPA Africa Region and in the wider CPA membership.
Above: The Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Hon. Nelly Mutti, MP (centre), receives the 2023 Commonwealth Parliamentarian of the Year Award from last year's recipient, Hon. Kate Doust, MLC (Western Australia) and the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP (United Kingdom). Click here for more images.
The 2023 Awards were presented by Hon. Kate Doust, MLC, from the Parliament of Western Australia who was the recipient of the first CPA Parliamentarian of the Year Award last year.
The Speaker of Zambia said in her acceptance speech:
“Allow me to begin by recognising all the women Parliamentarians present at this conference. By extension, let me commend all the member Parliaments for yielding to the CPA Secretariat’s call by ensuring that delegations to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) comprised of one-third of women. On behalf of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Zambia Branch and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to place on record my sincere gratitude for being recognised as the 2023 Commonwealth Parliamentarian of the Year. I am aware that the process leading to this award was rigorous and highly competitive. It is, therefore, humbling for me to emerge as the winner of the award from among the 180 Legislatures in the Commonwealth.
I wish to dedicate this award to the over 3,000 women Parliamentarians of the Commonwealth, as we strive collectively to change the narrative in our Parliaments by ensuring that course for gender parity is attained in all our national and sub-national Legislatures. Our efforts should be anchored on ensuring that proportional representation and other forms of affirmative action such as the quota system for women’s representation are enshrined in our national constitutions.
In order to achieve this desire, our male counterparts are key in the process. I, therefore, wish to implore our male Parliamentarians to support women in their respective Legislatures so that together we can enhance the representative, legislative and oversight functions of our Parliaments and address the challenges faced by the citizens of our countries.
Before I conclude, let me also congratulate the other Parliamentarians that have been awarded in the various categories. To the other contenders, who did not make it, you are also winners for having been nominated for the awards by your Parliaments. Allow me to implore the Speakers and Heads of Delegation present to domesticate this initiative by the CPA Secretariat of awarding Parliamentarians in their own Parliaments. This will not only motivate Parliamentarians but is also a way of encouraging them to perform their duties diligently. I wish to place on record that the CPA Zambia Branch has implemented this initiative with the inaugural Zambian Parliamentarians’ awards ceremony having been held in September 2023.
Let me end by quoting the words of Shelly Charleston, the first black woman to be elected to the United States Congress, who said, and I quote, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair”. Thank you and God bless.”
Biography: Hon. Nelly Mutti is the current and first ever female Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia. Elected in September 2021, she is the Principal Presiding Officer responsible for fair and impartial maintenance of order and decorum in the House. In addition, she is the Chairperson of the Standing Orders Committee, which examines and considers matters pertaining to parliamentary procedure, customs and traditions of the House; as well as recommendations regarding salaries, allowances, pensions or gratuities of Officers and Members of the National Assembly, among others. She also chairs the House Business Committee, whose duties include consideration of all matters related to the business of the House and approval of the Parliamentary Calendar. In addition, she is currently serving as the President of the Zambia Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the CPA Zambia Branch President.
Hon. Ntombi Lentheng Mekgwe, MPL, Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in South Africa was awarded the 2023 Parliamentary Equality and Diversity Award in recognition of her parliamentary service and her commitment to gender mainstreaming and the promotion of women’s empowerment, the work of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in Gauteng, and the sector Parliaments (including youth, LGBTQIA+, elderly citizens and women).
Biography: Hon. Ntombi Lentheng Mekgwe is a South African politician who has been Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature since 2014. Before that, she was a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) in the Gauteng Provincial Government from 2010 to 2014, and the third Mayor of Ekurhuleni from 2008 to 2010. She is a member of the African National Congress (ANC). Born on Gauteng's East Rand, she was Mayor of Nigel from 1995 to 2000, and then served as Speaker of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council from 2001 to 2008. In July 2008, she succeeded Duma Nkosi as Mayor of Ekurhuleni. She left the mayoral office in November 2010 when, shortly after her election as ANC Provincial Treasurer in Gauteng, she was appointed to the Executive Council of Premier Nomvula Mokonyane. She served as MEC for Social Development and Health from 2010 to 2012, and MEC for Local Government and Housing from 2012 to 2014. She was elected Speaker in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature after the 2014 general election and was re-elected in 2019.
Hon. Myrna Driedger, MLA, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in Canada was awarded the 2023 Parliamentarian Life-time Achievement Award in recognition of her parliamentary service and her commitment and contributions to the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network, particularly in the CPA Canada Region, as well as her work encouraging young women and girls to become active in politics and her 25 years of promoting the education of youth around the work of Parliament.
Biography: Hon. Myrna Driedger MLA was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 2016. She has held a number of diverse critic roles in the past including that of Critic for Health, Status of Women, Finance, Civil Service & Crown Corporations Council, Child & Family Services, and Education. She has been a member of the Public Accounts Committee and the Standing Committee on the Children’s Advocate. In 2011, she was elected for a three-year term as Chair of the Canadian Region of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) by her peers from across the country. In September 2012, she also held the role of Vice-Chair of CWP International. In 2022, she took on the role of CWP President when Canada hosted the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. Before entering public life, Myrna had a successful and rewarding career as a registered nurse with experience in general duty, nursing education, quality assurance, medical and nursing research, patient education and nursing administration.
Hon. Tanya August-Hanson, MLC, Member of the Isle of Man Legislative Council was awarded the 2023 New Parliamentarian Award in recognition of her contributions to promoting parliamentary democracy and engagement amongst young people, her role as an ambassador for the CPA, and her pioneering of the concept of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between Parliamentarians and the Government.
Biography: Ms Tanya August-Hanson, MLC has been a Member of the Isle of Man Legislative Council since 2018. She has been a Member of the CPA Isle of Man Branch Executive Committee, the 2018 ‘Year of Our Island’ Political Board, the Select Committee of Tynwald on Poverty, the Emoluments Committee, the Standing Committee on the Business and Functioning of the Council and an Alternate Member of the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee (for the purpose and duration of the Historic Child Abuse Inquiry). She has a background as a broadcast journalist, having achieved a BA degree in Public Relations & Marketing and an MA in International Journalism.
As part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s mission to strengthen parliamentary democracy through the promotion of good governance and sharing best practice, the awards were launched last year to recognise and highlight inspirational and active Parliamentarians for excelling in their field.
Awards are open to nominees who are current Parliamentarians* across the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s unique membership includes almost 180 national, state, provincial and territorial Legislatures. The next awards will be open for nominees in 2024.
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg said:
“The Commonwealth Parliamentarian of the Year Awards aligns to our strategic objective of promoting the values of the Commonwealth, parliamentary democracy and sustainable development to a wide audience. Through these annual awards, the CPA will recognise and highlight the invaluable contributions that Parliamentarians are making to their local communities and both nationally and internationally within the Commonwealth.”
* Nominees should be sitting Members of Parliament in a Commonwealth Legislature or have been a sitting Member of Parliament in a Commonwealth Legislature in the award period. The award can be made posthumously.
Further information about the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) can be found at the official conference website and also at the 66th CPC Hub.
On social media follow the hashtag #66CPC
Images of the 66th CPC are also available at the CPA's Flickr page.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) organises its annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) to address global political issues and developments in the parliamentary system through conference workshops and sessions for leading Parliamentarians representing Parliaments and Legislatures throughout the Commonwealth.
The CPA is an international community of almost 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.
For media enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.