President Levy Mwanawasa says Zambia fully supports the transformation of the Southern Africa Development Committee Parliament Forum (SADC -PF) into a regional parliament.
Mr. Mwanawasa said he has been concerned about the delay in bringing to fruition the goal of transforming the forum into a regional parliament.
He stated the Southern Africa Region is currently the only region on the continent
without a regional legislature.
Other regions as geographically defined have already established such parliaments to
advance common values missions and objectives of their respective economic
communities through the participation of their elected representatives.
These include Economic Community of the West Africa States (ECOWAS) parliament, the
East Africa legislative Assembly (EALA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on
development (IGAD) in the horn of Africa.
Mr. Mwanawasa said the forum since inception 10 years ago has taken root in the
region through its activities aimed at promoting regional integration, democratic
governance and peace through improved electoral practices and capacity building for
He added the forum has established itself as one of the leading institutional
promoters of gender equality and as a dependable ally in the fight against HIV and
‘Indeed the forum has acquitted itself admirably in the decade of its existence,’ he
Heads of States and Governments during a summit held in Malawi in 1997 envisaged
the transformation of the forum into a regional legislative body although no
specific time frame was set.
Mr. Mwanawasa ,however, stated that forthcoming SDAC summit heads of state and
government should be utilised in winding down the debate on transforming the forum
into a SADC parliament.
As Zambia takes up the chairman and hosts the summit of the regional body two months
from now, Mr. Mwanawasa expressed optimism that the summit will bring the matter to
The President was speaking at State house today when the SADC- PF steering committee
paid a courtesy call on him.
The Members include the Botswana speaker Patrick Balopi who is also chairperson of
the forum, Vice Chairperson , Nora Chase Mp from Namibia , Namibia Speaker Dr. Theo
– Ben Gurirab..
Others included Secretary General Dr. Kasukwa Mutukwa , Treasurer Exalgina Gamboa Mp
from AngolaÂ and Zambia SpeakerÂ of the National Assembly Amusa Mwanamwambwa and
clerk of National Assembly Doris MwiingaÂ Â who accompanied them.
Speaking Earlier, Mr Balopi stated the delegation is in the country to raise their
concern over the idea as it had done with the presidents that have chaired the
regional body in the past years.
The SADC -PF said the forum when transformed would be a viable institution that the
can benefit the region.
He said the forum feel’s that parliamentarians have a role to not only compliment
the initiatives that presidents in the regionÂ Â are propagating but also foster
programmes of regional corporation , trade and other developmental issues.
Mr. Balopi assured President Mwanawasa that the forum once transformed would not
duplicate the work of Pan Africa parliament and the national Parliaments.
Meanwhile, Mr. Balopi has commended President Mwanawasa for the economic
transformation and legislative reforms taking place in the country.
He further added that continent has a lot to learn from the war against corruption
that President Mwanawasa has embarked on.
And SpeakerÂ of the National Assembly Amusa Mwanamwambwa said time has come for the
decision on the transforming the body to be made now that the pan African Parliament
is firmly established and operational.
‘The need to expedite this matter is even more pressing in view of the need for the
Southern Africa region to have a regional body to underpin its activities in the Pan
Africa parliament as well as in order regional and international organisation,’ he
He commended President Mwanawasa for being the first head of state to support the
transformation of the forum in a regional parliament.