22nd July 2024

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SADC Parliamentary Forum reappoints Secretary General

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Moses Magadza

Port Louis, Mauritius – The Fifty-Fourth Plenary Assembly Session of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum (PF) has endorsed the reappointment of the Forum’s Secretary General, Ms. Boemo Sekgoma, for a second five-year term.

Delegates to the Plenary (the Forum’s highest decision-making body) including Members of Parliament and Speakers of National Parliaments from SADC Member States which ended on Saturday, were effusive in appreciating the performance of Sekgoma, a citizen of Botswana and the first woman to head the SADC PF.

As the world squirmed under a myriad of challenges including COVID-19, Sekgoma steered the Forum forward, fundamentally bolstering its performance while making its work visible, the Plenary noted.

Over the past five years under Sekgoma’s leadership, the SADC PF recorded several key achievements. At the institutional level, a dynamic synergy was nurtured between the Office of the President of SADC PF, the Executive Committee and the Secretariat, resulting in several achievements.

In terms of corporate governance, the Forum adopted several governance-friendly policies, including performance management, risk management, offering internships, encouraging whistleblowing, adherence to anti-fraud and corruption, and anti-Sexual Harassment policies.

The policies apply to staff and MPs, ensuring observance to the core values and Guiding Principles of the Forum, thereby upholding common regional interests and the SADC identity.

The SADC Summit of Heads of States and Government, for the first time since 2004, resolved to amend the Treaty of SADC and develop a Protocol establishing the SADC Parliament.

Additionally, three Model Laws were developed and adopted over the past five years, solidifying the Forum’s position as a leader in normative legal frameworks for the SADC region.

Two new governance organs, the Committee of Clerks/Secretaries General and the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee (RPMLOC), were added to the Forum’s institutional architecture, injecting renewed administrative vigor into the Forum’s processes. To boost efforts in resource mobilization, a trust was set up.

In terms of membership, the Forum grew from 14 to 15, with Madagascar joining after intensive lobbying, becoming the second francophone country in the SADC-PF after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In keeping with contemporary trends, the SADC PF upgraded its Information Communication Technology (ICT) systems to embrace digital innovation, enabling online meetings, including a virtual Plenary Assembly that took place in December 2021.

Also under Sekgoma’s leadership, the Forum effectively implemented its Strategic Plan, deepening democracy and socio-economic Development. It embraced a broader focus on civil and socio-economic human rights, including housing, health, the green economy and employment, recognizing them as prerequisites for women’s empowerment.

The SADC-PF promoted gender equality, electoral governance, and public health rights at inter-parliamentary level.

In relation to resource mobilization, global visibility and sustainability, the SADC PF’s SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project funded by Sweden was renewed in 2019, bringing significant resources for the Project’s work until 2023. Other donors including the Austria Development Agency (ADA) and German Development Agency (GIZ) also also funded targeted parliamentary programmes, leading to flourishing Committee sittings and enhanced MP capacity on critical parliamentary principles.

On the international stage, the Forum has taken the lead in coordinating SADC Group meetings during the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) sessions, resulting in strengthened coordination and parliamentary innovation.

In 2023, the Forum initiated a benchmarking meeting with the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament and the Pan African Parliament (PAP), fostering a strengthened partnership where parliamentary organizations can lead in their identified fields of expertise and learn from each other.

Read more on the subject:

SADC PF reappoints Secretary Generala

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Sekgoma’s reappointment comes when there is renewed focus on regional issues, climate change, SRHR, sustainable development, gender equality, and increased intra-African trade. Intensified regional integration efforts are expected to offer SADC PF substantial opportunities for deeper cooperation and multilateral engagement.

Accelerating SADC regional integration, SRHR, climate change, transforming the SADC PF into a SADC Regional Parliament, deepening parliamentary democracy and strengthening collaborations while making the work of the Forum visible, are among the SG’s priorities in her second term.

Ends/.

Ms. Boemo Sekgoma, Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. Photo: Contributed.

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