The executive committee of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) is meeting in Seychelles to discuss pressing issues in preparation for the 53rd Plenary Assembly.
Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan opened the meeting on Saturday with words of thanks and welcome to the executive committeemembers to the island state.
“I want to thank you for the honour for entrusting the presidency of the SADC PF to the Speaker of our National Assembly – my long-time colleague in politics – the Honourable Roger Mancienne. In placing your confidence in him, you have also honoured our National Assembly and our country. Although we are the smallest member country, we have always been ready to play our part in this very august organisation and indeed in all others of which we are part,” said Ramkalawan.
President Wavel Ramkalawan addressing the SADC PF meeting (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
He added that he participated in the SADC PF for many years as a parliamentarian and had been involved in its projects for the formulation of policies and resolutions, which are achievements for the organisation, such as work on democratic elections.
“I hope we can continue to ensure that our region delivers credible, just and fair elections… I know that the work that you do is profound,” said Ramkalawan.
The president of SADC PF, Roger Mancienne, said that the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament is a topic to be tabled during the meeting being held from May 27 to May 28.
“We are obligated to continue the transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament. We are obligated to continue our advocacy efforts with our respective governments so that this important process is taken to its completion in the most efficient manner, always keeping in mind the noble objectives for which we seek this transformation,” said Mancienne during his opening speech.
Also, on the agenda during the meeting are several issues that have been taken up by executive committee in previous meetings and new issues that come in relation to these, “such as agriculture, climate change, democratic rights, and so on,” said Mancienne.
Speaker of the Seychelles National Assembly, Roger Mancienne – president of the SADC PF (Seychelles National Assembly) Photo License: CC-BY
During the two days, the committee also considered the proposal for the creation of a world-class International Learning Centre and Library.
SADC PF was established in 1997 and brings together members of parliaments from Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The executive committee of the SADC PF (Seychelles National Assembly) Photo License: CC-BY
It provides a platform for parliaments and parliamentarians to promote and improve regional integration in the SADC region, through parliamentary involvement.
“As the management committee of our organisation, it is our duty to ensure that our institution operates with excellence as it continues to build the capacity of parliamentarians in our region while observing the obligations of human rights and good governance including transparency and accountability. This meeting is only one way in which we can deliver on this mandate through the oversight of the work being done by the secretariat and by providing guidance and decisions where necessary,” said Mancienne.
The Plenary Assembly – the highest policy-making and deliberative body of the SADC PF – will be held in Tanzania in July 2023.