Malawi government says it supports fully the institutionalization of the SADC Parliament.
This call was made by State Vice President Khumbo Kachali when he officially opened the 32nd plenary assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in the lakeshore district, of Mangochi.
The SADC parliament is the only one that has not been transformed from being a consultative to a legislative one. If it becomes a legislative parliament then it shall operate along the lines of ECOWAS, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
According to the Kachali, the absence of the SADC regional legislative body was a missing link to the regional integration efforts. “A SADC Parliament, once established, will not only add to the number of SADC institutions but will also ensure the inclusion of the voice of the people in the affairs of SADC through their elected representatives,” he pointed out.
“The plenary assembly whose theme is ‘Enhancing the role of parliaments in budget oversight and economic governance in the SADC Countries,’ is timely and relevant as the SADC region is faced with a multiplicity of challenges hampering the socio-economic development of the region and therefore inhibiting our overall objective of deeper regional integration,” observed the Kachali.
According to the vice president, the region’s average economic growth is only about 5% with many countries falling way below this average while on the other hand; the region’s population growth is at a high rate of 2.7% per annum. This, he bemoaned, does not reflect well on SADC which is regarded as the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with new infections reportedly to be on the rise. Besides these, he said, SADC is faced with extreme poverty and hunger which, together with many other challenges makes it impossible for a number of SADC not achieving the first Millennium Goal. He therefore urged the delegates to deliberate on these during the meeting.
In his remarks, Chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary Forum who is also Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, said since the establishment of SADC parliamentary forum in 1996 it has demonstrated to be the best forum in as far as strengthening of parliamentary democratic values in the region are concerned.