Vice President H.E. Nangolo Mbumba opened the 47th SADC PF Plenary assembly calling for coordinated regional efforts to tackle the crisis caused by the Covid 19 pandemic
|Story by George Sanzila
Windhoek- Namibia’s Vice President, H.E. Nangolo Mbumba has noted that there is political will to transform the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional Parliament. H.E. Nangolo Mbumba said this when he officially opened the virtual SADC Parliamentary Forum 47th plenary assembly in Windhoek today (09/10/2020). The SADC PF Plenary Assembly is being held virtually for the first time due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
According to the Vice President, a regional parliament is currently the missing link needed to complete the governance architecture of SADC. “I commend the SADC PF for promoting democracy in the SADC region. Model laws dealing with critical issues are being adopted. These are useful guides for harmonisation of national legal frameworks. Our leaders in SADC are in full support of a regional parliament so that we complete the governance architecture of SADC”, noted Mbumba.
One major challenge for the regional inter parliamentary body has been the lack of a regional parliament. There already exist other organs such as the secretariat (executive) and a tribunal (judiciary with the legislative arm the only missing link.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi who also spoke at the opening echoed similar sentiments adding that conspicuous efforts are being made to transform the SADCPF into a regional parliament.
SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax in her earlier remarks noted that the SADC region has been relentlessly pursuing efforts aimed at regional integration and that the transformation of the SADCPF into a parliament body would augur well for this noble cause. As examples she cited the over 36 SADC adopted protocols in different areas of regional development such as the free movement of goods, gender mainstreaming and economic empowerment of women and youths as instruments that would be more effective with a regional parliament.
With a theme entitled "The role of parliaments in strengthening accountability during a pandemic: the case of COVID 19, the Vice President noted that the Covid 19 pandemic has disrupted both economies and lives of people noting that there was a need for coordinated strategies by SADC countries.
“The plenary is a welcome opportunity to engage in frank discussions and to reflect on our responses in order to best deal with this crisis that has disrupted supply chains and resulting in food shortages. Our vulnerable citizens have had to rely on social safety nets. The trans boundary nature of this disease makes it imperative for us to coordinate our efforts”, cautioned Mbumba.
The meeting that ends on Sunday (11/09/2020) is represented by over 11 SADC Parliaments with seven Speakers. Among a host of issues to be considered during the plenary is the update on the transformation of the SADCPF into a parliamentary body.