New Leaders At SADC-PF

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Anne Semamba Makinda (MP) has been elected unopposed as the new President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum for the period 2014-2016.

An accountant, Makinda was elected at the end of the 36th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-PF in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Makinda’s political career dates back to 1975 when she became a backbencher in her country’s National Assembly.

In an emotional acceptance speech, Makinda thanked the region’s parliamentarians for their “trust and confidence” in electing her to lead the SADC-PF at a time when the momentum for it to transform into a SADC Regional Parliament is high.

“In the past 17 years, SADC-PF has to a great extent achieved its stated constitutional mandate of promoting respect for the rule of law, gender equality and equity, good governance, peace and democracy in the region,” Makinda said.

She however noted that she was assuming the presidency of SADC-PF at a time when the forum is facing structural, financial and strategic challenges but stressed that she would rely on the trust and thrust of the whole regional body to sail through her two-year term.

“Some of these challenges include lack of formal mechanisms to channel forum decisions into SADC processes, limited formal enforcement mechanisms at national level of SADC-PF decisions, lack of formal mechanisms for engagement with the Pan-African Parliament, inadequate human and financial resources, donor dependency for its programmes, inadequate links with the SADC Secretariat, inadequate research capacity and weak links with the national parliamentary agendas.”

She noted that SADC-PF had developed a five-year strategic plan (2014-2019) in line with its new mandate and objectives.

The strategic plan seeks to, among others, enable the SADC-PF to adopt parliamentary procedures and practices towards transforming into a SADC Regional Parliament in a timely and efficient manner, align and harmonize SADC-PF standing committees and programmes with SADC sectors, strengthen the implementation capacity of SADC through enhanced involvement of parliamentarians in the affairs of SADC and rationalize the institutional linkages between SADC-PF and SADC organs.

The Public Relations Officer for SADC-PF, Moses Magadza, said Makinda takes over from Abdool Razack Mahomed Ameen Peeroo, GOSK, SC, Speaker of the National Assembly of Mauritius, whose term and that of the other Executive Committee members ended at this year’s Plenary Assembly.

“The Plenary Assembly, which is the highest decision making body for SADC-PF, also elected Malawi’s parliamentarian Joseph Rabson Njobvuyalema as vice-president,” Magadza said.

Source : New Era