Despite their differences, the parliamentarians of all three Mozambican political parties agreed that the visit had helped to illustrate how parties in opposition to each other can still work together in the national interest in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect. During the trip, the tension which characterized the first few days gradually eased as the parliamentarians discovered they came from similar areas, spoke the same language, shared similar interests despite their differing political affiliations. This is of special significance because of the fact that the FRELIMO government has had an uneasy relationship with the opposition RENAMO party, which received 45 per cent of the vote in the October 1994 elections.
The role of women in the parliaments received special attention on the study visit. In South Africa, since the ruling African National Congress had established a quota of 33 per cent women in its list, the result has been that 25 per cent of all parliamentarians in their National Assembly are women. In Mozambique, it is even higher (26 per cent). In this regard African parliaments are now in the forefront in the world surpassed only by Scandinavian countries. There is a need, however, to make the parliaments more convenient for the women members, including, for example, day care facilities and meeting times which are compatible for family life. The members of the study visit advised a follow up regional workshop for women members of parliament for an exchange of experiences and to strengthen the capacity of the women to perform their tasks as parliamentarians.


In December 1994, a national programme was launched in Burundi, with the opening of a House of a Culture of Peace, staffed by a multi ethnic team. The House is a symbolic expression of the national desire for peace and, at the same time, the material structure with the means and institutional power to put it into practice.

The first event in the Burundi programme was a national forum involving 160 leading political, religious, and academic figures of the country from both ethnic groups and all strata of society. In addition to the Prime Minister, the forum was presided over by the Minister of Secondary and Higher Education, the Minister of Primary Education and Alphabetization, and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
The forum made a series of recommendations for programmes in education and communication:

• urgent need to re-educate Burundians to democratic values at all levels from the family to the political authorities;

• creation of peace committees at all levels beginning with the 'collines' and neighbourhoods;

• re-establishment of the institution of Bashingantahe (traditional leaders) within the modern context;

• introduction of education for a culture of peace into curricula from primary schools to higher education;

• seminars, colloquiums and days of reflection on the theme 'Education for peace' for all strata of the population;

• production of educational documents on themes of peace (stories, novels, cartoon strips, etc.);

• 'de-politicization' of the family and youth and rehabilitation of the 'evening school for the family' through stories, fables, riddles, etc.;

• training for journalists and communicators - public and private - to engage their participation in educating the pubic for a culture of peace;

• development of a policy for re-insertion and re-installation of refugees and displaced or dispersed populations.


In a culture of peace, although parliamentarians may be in opposition parties and have many differences, they still work together in the national interest, in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect.

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