Mozambique assumes SADC PF Presidency

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From Moses Magadza in Maputo, Mozambique

MAPUTO- The Speaker of the National Assembly of Mozambique, Hon. Veronica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo and Senator Isaac Mmemo Magagula from the National Assembly of Eswatini were elected unopposed as President and Vice President of the SADC PF respectively earlier this month.

The two lawmakers were elected at the end of the 44th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC PF which the National Assembly of Mozambique hosted. They will serve the Forum for two years having taken over from the Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, Hon Fernando da Piedade Dias Dos Santos and Senator Monica Mutsvangwa of Zimbabwe who served as President and Vice President of the Forum from 2016 to 2018.

Hon Dos Santos and his Executive Committee are credited for managing to put the issue of the transformation of the SADC PF into SADC Regional Parliament on the agenda of the 38th SADC Summit for Heads of State and Government.

NEW LEADERS: The Speaker of the National Assembly of Mozambique, Hon. Veronica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo (standing) speaks after being elected unopposed as President of SADC PF while Senator Isaac Mmemo Magagula from the National Assembly of Eswatini who was also elected unopposed as Vice President of SADC PF (left) and Acting Secretary General of the SADC PF listen in during the 44th Plenary Assembly Session in Maputo, Mozambique last week. Photo: Moses Magadza/SADC PF In a major breakthrough, the Summit warmed up to the idea of transforming the Forum and accepted it in principle before referring the issue to national Parliaments for further discussion with a clear timeline.

Earlier, Speaker of the National Assembly of Eswathini Honourable Mavimbela said his country was in support of the transformation of SADC PF into a SADC Regional parliament.

He recalled that during the 39th Plenary Assembly Session of SADC PF held in Ezulwini in 2016, an ad-hoc committee chaired by Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, paid a courtesy call on His Majesty King Mswati III and successfully lobbied him on the matter.

"As the Kingdom of Eswathini, we fully concur and support the transformation process of SADC PF into a Regional Parliament as proposed."

The challenge for the new leaders would be to build on the momentum created by their predecessors. It seems they have hit the ground running. The new SADC PF President said immediately after her election that she would convene an urgent meeting to discuss how the good work was done under the previous Executive Committee can be taken forward.

Another priority for the new leadership would be to help operationalize the SADC PF's 2019 - 2023 Strategic Plan.

The 44th Plenary adopted a motion calling on the Forum to allow five Members of the previous Executive Committee to continue serving in the current one, albeit without voting powers. The idea is to maintain momentum, enable continuity and preserve institutional memory.

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