The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Stanley K. Kakubo, has addressed the Parliament on the critical need for Zambia to ratify and sign the agreement for the transformation of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) into the SADC Regional Parliament.
In his remarks to the Parliament on December 6th, 2023, Hon. Kakubo highlighted the historical context of this transformative step, tracing its origins back to the 43rd plenary assembly session in Luanda, Angola, in June 2018.
Approval was granted for the proposed transformation, emphasizing a phased approach and consensus building to reinforce linkages with SADC Policy Organs.
Crucially, the Minister emphasized that the proposed transformation respects the territorial and parliamentary sovereignty of each Member State, primarily involving the conferment of legislative powers through an enhanced model of law-making.
The consultative process, culminating in a detailed roadmap for the transformation, was presented to the National Assembly of Zambia in November 2020, receiving the Assembly’s approval.
Subsequently, in August 2021, the Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Lilongwe, Malawi, endorsed the conversion of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into the SADC Parliament.
However, Hon. Kakubo noted that for this transformation to materialize, three-quarters of the SADC Summit Member States must sign the agreement amending the SADC Treaty.
While seven Member States, including Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, have signed the agreement, three signatures are still pending.
The establishment of the SADC Regional Parliament aligns with other Regional Economic Communities on the African continent, underscoring the imperative of fostering enhanced consultation and dialogue on the SADC common agenda.
In his conclusion, Hon. Kakubo recommended that Zambia promptly ratify and sign the agreement, emphasizing the benefits that would accrue to the nation from being part of the SADC Regional Parliament.
The move to establish the SADC Regional Parliament signifies a historic development for the region, positioning it in alignment with other African Regional Economic Communities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s recommendation reflects the commitment to actively participate in the evolving regional governance structure.