The 43rd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum has unanimously adopted a motion to amend the SADC Parliamentary Forum Constitution and the SADC Parliamentary Forum Rules of Procedure.
Botswana MP Honourable Duma Boko moved the motion calling for the amendments.
He explained the amendment sought to enable a much smoother operation of the SADC PF by ensuring that where certain Members are for some reason unable to attend, or they cease to be Members of their respective Parliaments, they can be replaced almost immediately, to enable the term of the affected Parliament to continue to its end.
Additionally, the motion sought to enable a situation in which those who are unable to attend Plenary business would be able to appoint proxies so that the business of SADC PF is not disrupted by the non attendance resulting in Standing Committees not having a quorum.
The second part of the motion was to put in place a monitoring and evaluation mechanism at regional level for the adoption, adaption and implementation of Model Laws to ensure that when such Model Laws are passed, there can be some tracking with respect to how far respective parliaments are in incorporating them in their domestic legislative frameworks.
This is important, also, to enable tracking of the outcomes of the Model Laws so that when challenges are detected, appropriate support is rendered.
Zambian Member of Parliament, Hon. Dr. S. Musokotwane seconded the motion. He said the amendments would make it easier for the Forum to replace its President, Vice-President or Treasurer.
"Basically what it says is that since we follow principles of rotation, if for one reason or another, an MP who is sitting in office as President, Vice-President or Treasurer leaves the Forum, maybe because there was an election or they resigned, we do not need to go for another election. The country whose member was already performing those duties can be asked to submit a replacement to take over from there. This is what it does under Article 11(4) and Rule of Procedure number 10."
Hon. Musokotwane explained that the second amendment was related to a procedure to address a lacuna on the establishment and meeting of SADC PF Executive Sub-Committees.
"This amendment that we are talking about now, Rule procedure No. 13… is going to combine offices of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, together with the Sub-Committee so that the whole team can be up and running immediately."
Hon. Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo from Mozambique also supported the motion and said the amendments would smoothen the operations of the SADC PF.
Hon. Edgbert Aglae of Seychelles also welcomed the amendments and expressed optimism that they would further democratize the SADC PF.
"It is important that we adopt new ways of thinking, and new resolutions. I think it is important that we obtain a copy of the SADC Constitution and procedures so that we can prepare ourselves better when we have future amendments coming before the House," he said.
Hon. Professor Nk'andu Luo from Zambia welcomed the amendment that would set up a monitoring mechanism over Model Laws developed by the SADC PF.
"This is because we develop Model Laws at great costs. I was part of the Committee that developed the Model Law on Child Marriage and it was at a great cost. Up to date, there has been no movement on that Model Law in Zambia We are dealing with a very serious problem on the African Continent where our children are being married off at a very tender age. They could have become Parliamentarians, Presidents, Doctors or Professors of this continent but because they would have been married off at a tender age, they had no opportunity to explore their potential," she said.
Malawi's Hon. Joseph Njobvuyalema welcomed the amendments saying they were overdue.
"We should have done this a long time ago. Where somebody is not available there is need for a proxy in deed… the amendments are quite in order."
Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda concurred.
"It is not at variance, therefore, to come up with this amendment, more so as we are anxiously looking at the transformation of the SADC PF into a SADC Regional Parliament."
We, the Representatives of the people of Southern African Development Community, having solemnly resolved to constitute a Parliamentary Consultative Assembly to be known as the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum with a view to developing into a regional Parliamentary structure, for the purpose of strengthening the capacity of the Southern African Development Community by involving Parliamentarians of Member states in its activities:
- to promote respect for the rule of law, gender equality and equity1, individual rights and freedoms, including the promotion and development of cooperation in the economic field in the SADC region based on the principle of equity and mutual benefit;
- to promote peace, democracy, security and stability on the basis of collective responsibility and supporting the development of permanent conflict resolution mechanisms in the SADC sub-region and strengthening regional solidarity and building a sense of common destiny among the peoples of SADC; and
- to promote dialogue and cooperation among Member States on socio-economic development issues in order to enhance economic welfare.
DO HEREBY GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
Johannesburg - The Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF), Dr Esau Chiviya, says the Forum has begun mainstreaming gender based violence (GBV) in its work to ensure that the region's Members of Parliament fully appreciate the problem and how it can be addressed.