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INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM MS BOEMO SEKGOMA

25 Jun 2021
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At the official opening of the 49th plenary assembly session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum hosted virtually by the Parliament of the Bostwana 25th June 2021

SALUTATIONS

  • His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana and our Guest of Honour;
  • Hon. Christophe MBOSO N'KODIA PWANGA, SADC PF President and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Hon. Dr. FIAROVANA Lovanirina Celéstin, SADC PF Vice President;
  • Hon. Phandu Tombola Chaha Skelemani, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana and our Host for the 49th Plenary Assembly;
  • Hon. Professor Peter H. Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia and Host of the SADC PF Headquarters;
  • Rt Hon Speaker Sephiri Motanyane, Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho;
  • Honourable Speakers and Presiding Officers of National Parliaments and Heads of Delegations;
  • Hon. Dr. Jago Woda Jeremiah Odok, Member of the East Africa Legislative Assembly, representing the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga;
  • Hon. Ann-Marie Mbilambangu, Chairperson of the Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucus;
  • Hon. Mmusi Kgafela, MP, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry;
  • Hon Cabinet Ministers here present in the Government of Botswana;
  • Hon Mabuse Pule, MP, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana;
  • Hon Dumelang Saleshando, MP, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly of Botswana;
  • Honourable Members of the Parliament of Botswana.
  • Honourable Members of the SADC Parliamentary Forum;
  • Kgosi Puso Gaborone, and Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi;
  • Ms Moggie Mbaakanyi, Chairperson of the Association of former Members of Parliament;
  • His Worship Father Maphongo, Mayor of Gaborone;
  • His Excellency Dr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA);
  • Her Excellency Paulina Mbala Elago, Executive Secretary, Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU);
  • His.Excellency. Mr. Domingos Estevao Fernandes, High Commissioner of the Republic of Mozambique and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps;
  • Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Representatives of Regional and International Organisations;
  • Ms. Emma Peloetletse, Acting Permanent Secretary to the President in the Government of Botswana;
  • Ms. Barbara Dithapo, Clerk of the National Assembly of Botswana and Chairperson of the SADC PF Committee of Clerks and Secretaries General
  • Clerks and Secretaries General of SADC National Parliaments;
  • Permanent Secretaries in the Government of Botswana;
  • Distinguished Cooperating Partners;
  • Distinguished Invited Observers and Guests;
  • Staff of the National Assembly of Botswana and SADC National Parliaments;
  • Staff of the SADC Parliamentary Forum
  • Members of the Media;
  • GOOD MORNING

I am delighted to introduce Delegates to this 49th Plenary Assembly Session of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum, (SADC PF).

HOSTING OF THE 49TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY

I would like to start by congratulating the Host, the National Assembly of Botswana, led by Hon. Phandu Tombola Chaha Skelemani for successfully hosting this Plenary. We are indeed enjoying the hospitality and dedication of the staff and people of Botswana, albeit virtually.

The hosting of this Plenary in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has drastically altered the way we do things, demonstrates the resilience of the Forum as supported by all Member Parliaments, and embodies its determination and commitment to promoting inter-parliamentary cooperation and diplomacy. Additionally, the sheer number and diversity of delegates to this Plenary, shows that we are making strides in the right direction.

Your Excellency, Honorable Speakers, Hon Members, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the 3rd Plenary Assembly Session of the Forum which is being held virtually due to disruptions brought about by COVID-19. The first two Plenary Assemblies held under similar conditions took place last year. We are, grateful for the dedication of Member Parliaments, in the face of current trying times.

Whereas the pandemic has tried to distance us, technology has bonded us. I feel that we are actually closer and stronger. Indeed, although the pandemic continues to threaten inter-parliamentary cooperation and parliamentary democracy, Member Parliaments remain undeterred. It is thus with pride, that we meet for the 49th Plenary Assembly Session as we brace for the 50th Plenary Assembly that will mark our golden jubilee.

Before I introduce our esteemed delegates, I beg your indulgence to highlight some key achievements of our Forum since the last Plenary Assembly. These achievements in my view cement regional cooperation between Member Parliaments.

As we meet, two Model Laws are nearing finalisation. They are the SADC Model Law on Gender Based Violence, and the SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management. It is our fervent hope, that these legislative instruments will contribute to the legal ecosystem of the SADC Region, and reinforce good governance, accountability and transparency, which are the hallmarks of parliamentary activity.

Your Excellency, Honorable Speakers, Hon Members distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Technology has become an essential part of the day-to-day life of SADC citizens. The Forum has accordingly embarked in the development of the SADC Model Law on the Digital Economy to guide Member States into the future.

With COVID-19 likely to have a continuing impact on the lives of SADC consumers, this Model Law will ensure that the rights of consumers are protected within the digital economy, in which they will perform multiple transactions on-line.

It is envisaged, also, that these Model Laws and other initiatives by the Forum, will further cement regional integration and consolidate the SADC identity, whereby the belief of shared SADC values, cultures and norms, strengthen the bonds of solidarity and cooperation. In this respect, the Forum is poised to act as an enabler of socio-economic change through concerted actions achieved through inclusive participation of all SADC Member States.

Similarly, the Forum strives to uphold socio-economic inclusion of all segments of the SADC population, without discrimination, and assist Parliaments enact laws that are inclusive, purposeful, and responsive to the needs of the SADC citizenry.

As part of our vision to act as the Flag-Bearer of Democratisation in our region, as a Forum we pledge to honour democracy in all its facets that are consonant with parliamentary activism.

At the same time, the Forum will continue collaborating with national Parliaments in spearheading the domestication of international and regional norms such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG #3 on good health and well-being, commitments on Universal Health Coverage, as well as the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS of 2021, this declaration calls for a rights-based approach to health. The impetus for domestication within a democratic framework, is likely to be crucial in the coming decades for the SADC region to meet its multiple health challenges, with HIV and COVID-19 constituting significant budgetary items that will call for continuous parliamentary appropriation of resources and oversight.

Your Excellency, Honorable Speakers, Hon Members distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The various capacity building initiatives conducted by the Forum, have responded to the needs of progressive domestication of norms and have mirrored the culture of the Forum, which is to promote human rights and democratisation.

The SADC-PF has indeed led the region on themes such as elections, trade, natural resources governance, gender equality, women empowerment, budget analysis, ICT, and human resources. These have enhanced parliamentary processes while serving to strengthen the SADC region as a hub of parliamentary excellence.

Your Excellency, Honorable Speakers, Hon Members distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Forum remains committed to deepening regional parliamentary integration and to building the capacity of its Member Parliaments to face emerging challenges. It is pleasing to note that the Strategic Objectives of the Forum which were approved by the 43rd Plenary Assembly have been advanced and implemented.

With that said, please permit me to now introduce our esteemed delegations to the 49th Plenary Assembly Session. (I wish to request the delegates to kindly wave their hands for the benefit of our Guest of Honour as I call their country):

1. The National Assembly of Angola, a Delegation of six (6) Members led by Hon. Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola;

Thank you are welcome.

2. The Parliament of Botswana, our gracious host, a Delegation of six (6) Members led by , Hon. Phandu Tombola Chaha Skelemani, Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana;

3. The Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a delegation of eleven (11) members led by the Speaker of the National Assembly and President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Hon. Christophe MBOSO N'KODIA PWANGA;

4. The Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho, a Delegation of seven (7) Members, led by Rt. Hon. Siphiri Motanyane, Speaker of the National Assembly;

5. The Parliament of the Kingdom of Eswatini, a Delegation of eight (8) Members, led by Hon. Petros Mavimbela, Speaker of the National Assembly;

6. The Parliament of Madagascar, a Delegation of Thirteen (13) Members led by the Hon. Dr. FIAROVANA Lovanirina Celéstin; Member of Parliament

7. The Parliament of Malawi, a Delegation of eight (8 Members led by the Rt. Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, Speaker of Parliament;

8. The Parliament of Mauritius a Delegation of five (5) Members led by the Hon. Sooroojdev Phokeer, Speaker of National Assembly;

9. The National Assembly of Mozambique, a Delegation of five (5) Members led by Hon. Esperança Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias Speaker of the National Assembly;

10. The National Assembly of Namibia, a Delegation of six (6) Members led Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi, MP

Speaker of the National Assembly and host of the SADC PF Headquarters;

11. The National Assembly of Seychelles, a Delegation of six (6) Members led by Hon. Roger Mancienne, Speaker of the National Assembly. Thankyou and You are most Welcome.

12. The Parliament of South Africa, a Delegation of six (6) Members led by Hon. Thandi Modise, Speaker of Parliament;

13. The Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe, a Delegation of six (6) Members led by Hon. Adv. Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly;

14. The Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia sent apologies;

15. The SADC PF Secretariat, a Delegation of 10 staff Members led by, the Secretary General.

16. Last but not least, all the staff from the National Assembly of Botswana here present.

 

Your Excellency, Honorable Speakers, Hon Members distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

INVITED GUESTS

Your Excellency, Honorable Speakers, Hon Members distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

WE ALSO HAVE INVITED RESOURCE PERSONS, Observers and Partners. These are:

1. H.E Dr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General AfCFTA Secretariat;

2. Dr. Khutula Sibanda, Director: Directorate of Industrial Development and Trade, representing the Executive Secretary of SADC;

3. H.E. Paulina Mbala Elago, Executive Secretary, South African Customs Union (SACU);

4. Eva Bursvik, Counsellor, Programme Manager, Regional Development Cooperation Programme: Trade and Regional Economic Integration, Embassy of Sweden, Lusaka, Zambia;

5. Ms Angela Machonesa. Regional Head of Influencing and Strategic Communications Plan International Incooperation. Middle East, Eastern and Southern Africa (MEESA) NAIROBI, Kenya;

6. Dr. Adane Ghebremeskel (PhD), Project Executive Manager - Peace, Security and Governance, GIZ Cooperation for the Enhancement of SADC Regional Economic Integration (CESARE);

7. Cynthia Lungu, Designated Delegate, UNAIDS Regional Support Team ESA Region, Office of Johannesburg;

8. Rouzeh Eghtessadi (MPH), Executive Director, SAfAIDS Regional Office;

9. Mr Deprose Muchena, Executive Director for Southern and Eastern Africa, Amnesty International;

10. Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, International IDEA;

11. Mr Anesu Dera, Attorney, Designated representative. Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand;

12. Julie Middleton , Consortium Project Manager, ActionAid International, and Clayton Vhumbunu, PSAM; and

13. Mr Stanley Nyamanhindi, Chief Executive Officer SADC Lawyers' Association

 

Your Excellency, and Distinguished Delegates, may I conclude my statement by thanking the Government and the National Assembly of the Republic of Botswana through the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly for graciously hosting the SADC PF 49th Plenary Assembly Session.

I wish all the Distinguished Delegates fruitful deliberations.

I THANK YOU, Muito Obrigado, Merci Beaucuop

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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC It is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Thirteen (14) parliaments representing over 3500 parliamentarians in the SADC region. Read More

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