SADC-PF 17 TH PLENARY SESSION UPDATE Presented jointly by Dudu Lenzie & Matthew Parks
Theme of the Session “ A review of the role of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in promoting democratic elections ”
SA Parliament’s Delegation Hon. Speaker Ms. B. Mbete (Head of Delegation) Hon Ms F. Hajaig Hon Ms N. Ntwanambi Hon Mr. W. J. Seremane Hon Mr. D. J. Sithole
Addresses at the Opening Session His Excellency BW Mkapa (Tanzania) Her Excellency Amb.G Mongella (PAP) Hon. Speaker P Msekwa (Tanzania) Hon. Speaker N Motsamai (Lesotho- Chairperson of SADC PF) Hon. Speaker MP Tjitendero (Namibia)
Key Issues Raised during Opening Session Centrality of democratic Elections in enhancing good governance, accountability, transparency, etc. The important role of SADC-PF in promoting democratic elections in SADC. The importance of REC’s parliamentary Fora as anchors for PAP. The need for continued dialogue btwn regional parliamentary fora and PAP to promote info sharing. The continued need for the prompt establishment of the SADC Parliament (2007).
Key Issues during Opening Session Need to continue lobbying Heads of State and Foreign Ministers to support the SADC Parliament Acceleration of the attainment of 30% women rep. in positions of power. & the general implementation of the SADC gender declaration.
Thematic Session topic 1 A comparative review of the SADC-PF, SADC and AU elections docs- Dr khabele Matlosa (EISA). Careful reading of the docs reveals no fundamental differences. SADC-PF’s doc is more comprehensive and elaborates on election observation. SADC doc is heavy on election principles and weak on election management.
Comparison btwn the SADC-PF & SADC Election Documents SADC-PFSADC More comprehensive and elaborates on election observation Top-heavy towards guidelines on election principles not election management No emphasis on a Member State inviting the PF to observe Strong emphasis on invitation
Differences btw SADC-PF Election Doc & SA Electoral Laws SADC-PFSA Electoral dates to be fixed/regulated in a Const Electoral dates not fixed in the Const. Parliaments must be involved in altering/fixing election dates The President has the prerogative of setting election dates, Parliament has no say. Electoral Commission may request the President to postpone elections Adequate notice of an election to be given of not less than 90 days Elections must be held within 90 days of date of dissolution of NA (sec 49 of Const)
Thematic Session Topic 2 The Importance of Constitutional and Electoral Reforms in strengthening Democratic elections in SADC- Dr Neo Simutanyi- Univ. of Zambia Absent/incomplete Constitutional or Electoral Reform may be the course of poor elections quality There’s need to have national consensus by involving political parties & civil society in introducing such reform Change of mindset crucial
Thematic Session Topic 3 Enhancing Gender Representation through the electoral Processes- Prof. Ruth Meena. Women participation is impacted on by Political party support Political will of state organs The strength of women’s movements The general disadvantages women face, politically, socially, culturally and economically
Policy Session SADC Parliament The 15 th Plenary Assembly (Lesotho-2003) adopted the case for a SADC Parliament & other Docs produced by a Task Team of Clerks/Secretaries. The Docs were submitted to the SADC Council of Ministers. Council recommended that the Summit consider the Proposed SADC Parliament. Summit welcomed the idea but rejected the urgency in the establishment. SADC-PF EX-COM agreed on the importance of a SADC Parliament, and agreed to continue to work on the goal with more realistic time-frame.
Policy Session (Cont…) Other matters from Committee Reports Secondment of Staff from Nat. Parls Lifting of visa requirements Public education on constitutional & other rights SADC-PF to ensure the development of common policy positions for effective PAP Linking political parties’ consts to Gender Declaration
Policy Session (Cont…) Involvement of political parties in fight against HIV/AIDS Addressing the looming crisis of HIV/AIDS orphans Developing a common position on GMO’s
Challenges Greater cooperation btw SADC & SADC-PF observer missions Ensuring that recommendations of election observer mission reports are implemented Harmonisation of Election Documents Establishment of a SADC Parliament Establishment of a mechanism to evaluate implementation and progress of SADC programmes Placing Gender equality & Fight against HIV/AIDS at centre of all dev. Agendas in SADC
Coming out of the 18 th Plenary Session Feedback & mandate mechanism at Nat. Parls. Interrogation of the Election Norms & Standards/Principles Delegates to consult on strategic areas to be included in the 2006-2010 SADC-PF strat-plan Nat Parls should play a role in facilitating the ratification of SADC Protocols Costing of the Establishment of the SADC Parl. DRC admitted as the 13 th member of SAD-PF