5-9 November – An exchange visit by a parliamentary delegation of the Committee of Petitions of the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique to Sweden has been supported by the Swedish AWEPA Section. The delegation was headed by the Chair of the Committee Hon. Mário Sevene and composed of Hon. Latifo Ismael Xarifo, Hon. Luciano Andrè de Castro, Hon. Ana Antonia Dimitri, Hon. Ângelo Thai and Hon. Miguel Anlauè Mussa. The Political Coordinator for the AWEPA Mozambique programme, Dr. Jan Nico Scholten was also part of the delegation.
Hon. Sevene explained that in Mozambique this Committee is dealing with petitions put forward by all civilians including foreigners who reside in Mozambique. “We call this Committee the door through which citizens can go to Parliament” Hon. Sevene said. Currently the Mozambican Parliament, through the Committee of Petitions, is in a process of reviewing the Petitions Law (Lei de petições) and Parliamentary Internal laws (Regiment) with the aim of simplifying the access for the citizens. The delegation exchanged information and experience with their Swedish colleagues, since Sweden has a long time experience in this matter and is a model to other countries being the first to establish an Ombudsman’s office in 1809. The delegation had several meetings in the Parliament, Municipality of Gävle, donor agencies SIDA and Diakonia and other institutes such as the Federation of Swedish Farmers and Swedish Cooperative Centre.
The visit started off with a luncheon hosted by the Head of the Swedish AWEPA Section and Member of the Swedish Parliament, Hon. Kerstin Lundgren. The group discussed the main public debates currently at play in society. In the Swedish Parliament big debates are held on the economic situation, healthcare for elderly people and freedom of internet. Hon. Lundgren explained that in Sweden you don’t have a special Committee in Parliament only dealing with petitions from citizens. “MPs deal with these directly themselves, it is an ongoing discussion between me as an MP and my voters” she noted. In Mozambique issues in relation to land and agriculture, employment and natural resources are high on the agenda. Regarding this last item ways to ensure a sustainable exploitation of natural resources (oil, gaz, coal etc.) in order to boost the country’s economy are currently looked at.
Part of the programme was also a meeting with the Second Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Hon. Ulf Holm, who received a parliamentary delegation from Mozambique for the first time, together with (AWEPA) Members of Parliament. Differences and similarities between the two Parliaments in terms of party systems, women representation, lines to their government and Ministers and international procedures concerning motions, questions, debates etc. were discussed.
The AWEPA Senior Parliamentary Advisor and Swedish MP, Hon. Bodil Ceballos took the delegation on a trip outside the capital city to the Municipality of Gävle where they met with high ranking officials at municipal, county council and regional level. The focus during these exchanges was put on the possibilities concerning citizen’s participation, engagement and responsibilities throughout all these levels.
In addition to this the delegates learned about how the Committee on the Constitution in the Swedish Parliament is operating and how the Swedish judicial system works including the role and mandate of the Parliamentary Ombudsman who is nowadays dealing with citizen’s complaints against government agencies and officials. Most complaints are related to social services, prisons, the police, social insurances, public courts of law, communications, freedom of expression and secrecy.
Click here to view the video about the life of Swedish MPs
This activity is made possible by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) via Diakonia and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the Norwegian Embassy of Maputo as part of AWEPA’s Mozambique programme.