Busy schedule for MPs at 43rd SADC PF Plenary Session

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From Moses Magadza in Luanda, Angola

Luanda - Members of Parliament (MPs) from different SADC Member States attending the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum were bracing for a busy time with important reports and motions set for consideration after the Plenary began in earnest on Wednesday.

The MPs were expected to receive and debate a number of key motions as they tackle common challenges affecting the SADC Region. The Plenary began with an official opening ceremony and a symposium on Monday. This Plenary, which is the ultimate decision-making body of SADC PF, will consider a report of the Forum's Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee is the management board of the Forum which provides stewardship over management and financial matters of the institution, which brings together 14 National Parliaments and approximately 2 500 MPs throughout the SADC Region.


IN CHARGE: Acting SADC PF Secretary General Ms Boemo Sekgoma. Photo: Moses MagadzaActing SADC PF Secretary General Ms Boemo Sekgoma said early this week that the Executive Committee would present three reports: on general management of the institution, on financial matters and a one related to amendment to the rules and constitution of the Forum with a view to strengthen certain areas - including establishment of a forum for chairpersons of Standing Committees and the Chairperson of the Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC).

The Plenary was set to receive and consider reports from all Standing Committees of the SADC PF that met prior to the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session. A joint session of some Standing Committees was also on the cards.

Sekgoma said in terms of motions, topical ones were expected to be moved. One of the motions would focus on strengthening developmental States in Southern Africa as an alternative model to the neo-liberal developmental framework. Honourable Siphosezwe Masango of South Africa was expected to move that motion.

Another motion would be on engagement with the Parliaments of Comoros and Madagascar to encourage them to join SADC PF. This after their governments have already joined SADC and have been formally admitted.

A motion calling for concerted efforts to combat sexual harassment in the workplace throughout the region is expected from Hon. Regina Esparon of Seychelles.

Botswana's Hon. Polson Majaga, was set to move a motion calling on MPs to take concrete steps to address the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security in the SADC Region, given the huge number of people who rely on agriculture.

South Africa's Stevens Mokgalapa, MP, was expected to move a motion calling on SADC Parliaments to do more to sustain efforts to promote electoral integrity in the Region.

This motion follows a decision by the 39th Plenary Assembly of SADC PF which met in the Kingdom of Eswatini in 2016 and resolved to develop a SADC Model Law on Elections against the backdrop of the adoption of the Revised SADC Guidelines and Principles Governing Democratic Elections.

This motion comes in the context of a very busy electoral calendar in the SADC Region between 2018 and 2019, during which 10 SADC Member States are expected to hold elections. In 2018 Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar and the Kingdom of Eswatini will hold elections. In 2019, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique Namibia and Mauritius will also go to the polls.

South Africa's veteran politician Rosalia Morutoa is expected to move a motion on gender dimensions to land ownership and agricultural industrialization in Southern Africa.

ATTENTION: SADC Members of Parliament stand at attention as the National anthem of Angola is played at the start of the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session of SADC PF in Lunda, Angola. Photo: Moses Magadza

In all, 12 of the 14 SADC PF Member Parliaments are represented at this Plenary and observers say the fact that many of the national delegations are being headed by Speakers shows the seriousness with with SADC Member States take the SADC PF and the work that it does.

In recent years the Forum has developed Model Laws to address common regional challenges that include child marriages, notably with financial support from Sweden and Norway who supported a four-year project to build the capacity of MPs to advocate for universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, HIV and AIDS services. Plans are underway to develop a SADC Model Law on key populations as the region strives to ensure that no one is left behind or falls through the crack towards.

This is the third time that Angola is hosting the SADC PF Plenary. A delegation of 11 members led by Hon Professor Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly, is representing Namibia at the Plenary Session.

Ends. /

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