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Friday, July 12, 2024

Hon Mudenda meets Angolan President Joao Lourenco

The Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Advocate J.F.N Mudenda, together with the President of SADC-PF and fellow Speakers of Parliament attending the 55th Plenary Assembly of SADC PF, paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, President João Lourenço of Angola this Thursday morning.

The meeting was held at the Presidential Palace in Luanda, where discussions affirmed, among other issues, the ongoing regional cooperation and integration efforts within the SADC community.

During the courtesy call, Speaker Mudenda, in his capacity as the Leader of the Strategic Lobbying Mission Team for the Transformation of the SADC PF into a regional Parliament since 2014 and as a dedicated proponent of regional integration, provided President Lourenço with a comprehensive update on the progress towards amending the SADC Treaty to allow for the transformation process. The proposed amendments aim at elevating the SADC PF from its current status to a fully-fledged Regional Parliament.

Thus far, 11 countries have signed the Agreement to amend the Treaty with Zambia being the latest country to append its signature to the Agreement having done so at the ongoing 55th Plenary Assembly. The regional bloc is on the verge of attaining the desired threshold of 12 member signatures which will chart a historic way forward in aligning the bloc with other four African regional blocs which have regional Parliaments as constituent Parliamentary entities anchoring the Pan African Parliament (PAP). The envisaged SADC regional Parliament will complete the five regional Parliament bloc for PAP.

President Lourenço expressed his appreciation for the update and reiterated Angola’s commitment to the consummation of this initiative. The President acknowledged the critical role that a regional Parliament would play in promoting democracy, good governance and socio-economic development across the SADC region in a strategically consolidated manner.

In response, Speaker Mudenda also extended gratitude to President Lourenço for Angola’s exemplary leadership in hosting the 55th Plenary Assembly. Speaking to the media after the meeting, SADC-PF President, Honourable Roger Mancienne highlighted that President Lourenço promised to lobby with the outstanding Heads of State with a view to nudging the outstanding four SADC countries into signing the Agreement to amend the Treaty during his penultimate Chairmanship of the SADC Summit. President Lourenço was a member of SADC-PF for several years before he assumed the Presidency of his country.

In concluding the day’s proceedings, Speaker Mudenda had a bilateral meeting with the host Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola for a brief courtesy call. Honourable Cerquira paid tribute to Honourable Mudenda’s high-level dexterity in handling the SADC Strategic Lobbying Missions. Speaker Cerquira also paid tribute to the relative peace and stability obtaining in the SADC region. In response, Honourable Mudenda appreciated the kind words expressed by Honourable Cerquira and recalled the shared historical and cordial bilateral relations between the two sister Republics.

Additionally, Speaker Mudenda commended Speaker Cerquira for successfully hosting the 147th IPU and 55th SADC PF Plenary Assemblies. Doubtless, it is no mean feat to host 180 national Parliaments and this attests to the rugged tenacity of the host country, Angola in espousing intense Parliamentary diplomacy. Speaker Mudenda, as a staunch He-for-She champion, further extolled the leadership qualities exemplified by the host Speaker, which should serve as a leadership inspiration to the girl child.

Subsequently, the two Speakers exchanged gifts wherein Speaker Mudenda presented an artefact of the balancing rocks in Epworth to symbolise Speaker Cerquira’s rock solid leadership, he posited. Meanwhile, the host Speaker presented Speaker Mudenda with a silver gold edged plate depicting the majestic and iconic architectural edifice of the Angolan Parliament.

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