INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM - DR. ESAU CHIVIYA

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AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING

OF THE 40th PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION

OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

HELD AT

RAINBOW TOWERS HOTEL

HARARE, ZIMBABWE

03 TO 15 NOVEMBER 2016

1.0 SALUTATIONS

 

  • The Master of Ceremony
  • The Vice President, and also Minister Responsible for Legal, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Emerson Mnangagwa, Our Guest of Honour
  • Hon. Adv. Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe and Host of the SADC PF 40th Plenary Assembly Session,
  • President of the SADC PF, Hon. Job Ndugai, Speaker of the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, in absentia
  • Hon. Joseph Njovhuyalema, MP and Vice President of SADC Parliamentary Forum,
  • Hon. Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the SADC National Parliaments,
  • Hon. Leaders of Delegations,
  • Hon. Members of Parliament and Senators from the various SADC Countries,
  • Hon. Ministers here present,
  • Chairperson of the SADC PF Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucus, Hon. Dr. Jesica Kabwila,
  • Invited Observers and Resource Persons,
  • Staff from the SADC PF and National Parliaments
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

2.0 INTRODUCTION

I am greatly honoured to welcome Delegates to this 40th Plenary Assembly Session of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) being hosted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe in this beautiful and warm city of Harare. This is the fifth time the Parliament of Zimbabwe is involved in the hosting of SADC PF Plenary Assembly Sessions. The hosting has been as follows:

i. The first time was in November 2001 when the Parliament of Zimbabwe hosted a SADC PF Plenary Assembly Session 100%,

ii. The second time was in 2009 during the 26th SADC PF Plenary Assembly Session held in Victoria Falls when Zimbabwe assisted SADC PF in hosting the Plenary Assembly,

iii. The third time was in 2011 during the 30th SADC PF Plenary Assembly Session held in Victoria Falls when Zimbabwe again assisted SADC PF in hosting the Plenary Assembly,

iv. The fourth time was in 2014 during the 36th SADC PF Plenary Assembly Session held in Victoria Falls when Zimbabwe further assisted SADC PF in hosting the Plenary Assembly, and

v. The fifth time is the current 40th SADC PF Plenary Assembly Session of November 2016 being held here at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare which the Parliament of Zimbabwe is hosting 100%.

The hosting of these SADC PF Plenary Assembly Sessions by the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the active participation by SADC PF Members from Zimbabwe in the affairs and activities of SADC PF is a clear demonstration of Zimbabwe's support for and commitment to what the SADC Parliamentary Forum stands for as stated in its Constitution.

3.0 SADC PF 40th PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION THEME

Our Guest of Honour and Distinguished Delegates, it is in the context of providing a platform to discuss matters of common interest that the Theme for this SADC PF 40th Plenary Assembly Session is "Statelessness in the SADC Region" which was deliberated upon yesterday following presentation by our esteemed Resource Persons.

The deliberation provided Members of Parliament in the SADC Countries with an opportunity to take stock of the statelessness situation in the SADC Countries in general and the most affected people in particular and what they can do to address the problems of statelessness in their Countries.

4.0 THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM (SADC PF)

Our Guest of Honour, and Distinguished Delegates, the SADC PF was established in 1997 by the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government that met in Blantyre, Malawi, as an autonomous institution of SADC in accordance with Article 9(2) of the SADC Treaty. The objective was "to constitute a Parliamentary Consultative Assembly, the ultimate goal being the establishment of a Regional Parliamentary Framework for dialogue on issues of regional interest and concern".

Despite all the lobbying efforts by the SADC PF leadership for the Forum to be transformed into a SADC Regional Parliament, 20 years after it was established SADC PF still remains a Forum and not a SADC Regional Parliament. It is the only Region out of the five (5) Regions of Africa without its own Regional Parliament.

With a Membership from 14 of the SADC National Parliaments, SADC PF provides a platform for Parliamentarians as representatives of the people of SADC, to consult, consider and dialogue on matters of common interest to the people of the SADC Region, such as Statelessness in the SADC Region, which was discussed and deliberated upon yesterday.

5.0 SADC PF 40th PLENARY ASSEMBLY DELEGATES

Our Guest of Honour and Distinguished Delegates, the Plenary Assembly is the SADC PF policy making body which meets twice per year in June and November. This 40th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC PF has drawn Delegates from 13 SADC National Parliaments. We have 6 Delegations led by Speakers, 3 Delegations by Deputy Speakers, and four (4) Delegations by Members of Parliament. This means that we have a 93% turn up for this SADC PF 40th Plenary Assembly Sessions. This is highly impressive. Shall we clap hands for this impressive turn up.

I now call upon the Delegations country by country to stand up so that we can see them.

1. National Assembly of Angola, a Delegation of 8 Members led by Hon. Speaker Fernando Da Piedade Dia Dos Santos,

2. Parliament of Botswana, a Delegation of 4 Members led by Hon. Deputy Speaker Kagiso P. Molatlhegi,

3. Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Delegation of 3 Members led by Hon. Nkolo Boniface Balamage, MP,

4. Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho, a Delegation of 5 Members led by Hon. Deputy Speaker Solomon Montsuoe Lethoba,

5. National Assembly of Malawi, a Delegation of 8 Members led by Rt. Hon. Speaker Richard Msowoya,

6. National Assembly of Mauritius, a Delegation of 2 Members led by Hon. Maneesh Gobin, MP,

7. National Assembly of Mozambique, a Delegation of 6 Members led by Hon Jaime Bessa Augusto Neto, MP,

8. National Assembly of Namibia, a Delegation of 4 Members led by Hon. Speaker Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi,

9. National Assembly of Seychelles, a Delegation of 4 Members led by Hon. Speaker Patrick Pillay,

10. Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, a Delegation of 13 Members led by Hon. Speaker Baleka Mbete,

11. Parliament of the Kingdom of Swaziland, a Delegation of 7 Members led by Hon. Speaker Themba Msibi,

12. National Assembly of Zambia, a Delegation of 10 Members led by the Hon. Second Deputy Speaker Mwimba Malama,

13. Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe, a Delegation of 10 Members led by Hon. Speaker Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, our Host.

14. The Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania sent an apology of absence; and

15. The SADC PF Secretariat Staff Members led by the Secretary General, myself.

6.0 THANKS TO ZIMBABWE

Master of Ceremony, Our Guest of Honour and Distinguished Delegates, may I conclude my Opening Statement by thanking the Government and the Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe through the Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, for graciously and meticulously making accommodation, transport, protocol services, administrative and other logistical arrangements to facilitate smooth stay of Delegates during this SADC PF 40th Plenary Assembly Session being hosted in this beautiful Zimbabwe's Capital City of Harare.

The arrangements the Parliament of Zimbabwe has made for the comfort of the Delegates are all highly appreciated. Indeed, we will remember the warm hospitality from the people, the Government and the Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

I wish the Distinguished Delegates fruitful deliberations.

I THANK YOU.

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