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Friday, July 12, 2024

Advocate Mudenda attends SADC-PF plenary session

THE Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda and his delegation comprising of Honourable MPs, Chief Chinhenzva Chigwajara, Maybe Mbowa, Tendai Nyabani and Lynette Karenyi Kore, attended the official opening ceremony of the ongoing SADC-PF 55th Plenary Assembly being held in Luanda, Angola.

Cognisant of the debilitating power challenges that the sub-region has grappled with in the past couple of years and the need to come up with a holistic and harmonised sustainable solution to the same, the Assembly is running under the theme, ‘the role of parliament in promoting renewable energy policies in the SADC region and the creation of a single regional energy market’.

The ceremony comes against the backdrop of a successful launch of the SADC-PF Institutional Plan yesterday, hailed by the attending Speakers of Parliament as a momentous occasion in the history of SADC-PF.

The document is expected to give strategic direction to SADC-PF business as well as further catalyse and ginger the regional bloc as it moves towards finalisation of the transition into a fully-fledged Parliament.

Hon. Roger Manciene, Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles and President of SADC-PF, officially opened the Assembly.

The occasion was marked by the singing of the Anthems of the Republic of Angola, that of the African Union and of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

In her remarks, Ms Boemo Segkoma, Secretary General of SADC PF, extended gratitude to the host Parliament of Angola for its excellent hospitality and logistical arrangements.

Concomitantly, the Secretary-General lauded Angola for hosting the Plenary Assembly for a record fifth time and paid tribute to the Parliament of Angola for creating an enabling environment for the economic prosperity of the country.

The official opening session also featured messages of solidarity, including one from the East African Legislative Assembly.

Additionally, H.E. Onyango Kakoba, Secretary General of the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, a conglomeration of African Countries bound by the Great Lakes rivers, who expressed gratitude for the invitation and outlined the role of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

Similarly, Honourable Dr Tulia Ackson, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Speaker of the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania acknowledged the SADC Region for the immense support rendered to her in the IPU Presidential bid.

Further to this, she also outlined the programme of work for the remainder of the year, including the Summit of the Future and the World Speakers of Parliaments Conference scheduled for the last quarter of 2025 in August.

Furthermore, Honorable Shally Josefa Raymond, President of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Group (RWPC), paid tribute to SADC PF for establishing the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and other organs championing gender issues at both National and Regional levels.

She emphasized the pivotal importance of strengthening these caucuses within Member Parliaments and urged Parliaments to mainstream gender issues in their work plans.

In her welcome remarks, Hon. Carolina Cerqueira, Host Speaker of the 55th Plenary Assembly and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Angola, called for the creation of strong and resilient Parliaments capable of responding to geopolitical issues affecting Member States.

She urged Parliaments to work collaboratively in addressing critical problems affecting the region holistically, including the impact of public debt, conflicts and prudential financial management of the public purse as well as harnessing the use of renewable energy in the SADC regional economic development efforts.

As he officially opened the Assembly Conference, Hon. Roger Mancienne, President of SADC-PF, reiterated the criticality of collaborative efforts in addressing regional challenges.

The SADC PF president updated the Assembly on the Transformation Agenda insisting on the need to have all parliaments sign the agreement to amend the SADC Treaty to enable the finalization of the transformation of SADC-PF into a SADC Regional Parliament.

The SADC-PF president also lauded Zambia for being the 11th SADC country which would accede to appending its signature to the Agreement to amend the Treaty soon after the official opening of the Assembly falling one short of the desired 12 signatures threshold.

It is instructive to note that Speaker Mudenda chairs the Strategic Lobbying Team for the Transformation Agenda, whose assignment is coming to fruition.

The Lobbying Team has made tremendous inroads this far in cajoling member countries to append their signatures so that all SADC member countries are within the fold.

The opening session concluded with a vote of thanks from Rt. Hon. Nelly Butete Kashumba Mutti, SC, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Zambia and host for the 56th Plenary Assembly of SADC PF to be held in Zambia in November 2024.

Speaker Mutti promised to host the delegates to a memorable 56th Plenary Assembly meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.

Thereafter, the afternoon session was dedicated to a symposium on the theme of the Assembly, ‘The role of parliament in promoting renewable energy policies in the SADC region and the creation of a single regional energy market’, wherein several experts from Angola made incisive presentations on the cataclysmic energy deficit within SADC, as well as proffering solutions to ameliorate SADC countries from the energy deficiency through the propagation of solar, wind and hydropower generation strategies.

It was, however, agreed that thermal power generation can still be pursued despite the attendant greenhouse emissions which should be contained through current applied research measures.

Subsequently, the day concluded with Honorable Advocate Jacob Mudenda addressing the symposium on the Theme of the 55th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, emphasizing the critical role of Parliaments in promoting renewable energy policies and creating a single regional energy market pool.

Speaker Mudenda highlighted the untapped potential of renewable resources in the SADC region, including the transformative Inga Dam hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Speaker Mudenda called for the prioritization and expediting of the completion of key renewable power projects and the exploration of nuclear power energy as a low-carbon alternative source of energy to enhance energy security and environmental conservation sovereignty.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda recommended that Parliaments should push for comprehensive energy policy frameworks, higher budget allocations for renewable energy development and regional cooperation to harmonize energy policies.

He stressed the importance of ratifying and domesticating SADC Protocols on renewable energy to enable a swift transition towards a clean, secure and affordable energy future for all SADC citizens.

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