Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter
Sadc Parliamentary Forum is now set to be transformed into a regional Parliament whose approach will be consultative with organs of Sadc and craft model laws for consideration by member countries, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said.
He said there was now consensus among SADC Parliaments that it was now high time for SADC PF to be transformed and the forthcoming Sadc summit in August this year would be a turning point as the item is expected to be tabled before Heads of States and Government.
Adv Mudenda said this yesterday on the sidelines of a SADC PF plenary session held virtually and was officially opened by Botswana President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.
He said they had cleared some of the misgivings that some member countries had on the decision to transform SADC PF one of which related to the fear that it might compromise the sovereignty to make laws by member countries.
“On that score we said we are not going to be a legislative body in the strict sense but we are going to be a legislative body focussing on the crafting of model laws that will be subjected to interrogation, implementation where necessary or possible by member Parliaments,” said Adv Mudenda.
He said another area of reservations was whether or not the regional Parliament was going to exercise oversight on the SADC organs.
“We have said, Sadc has not attained a supra regional stature similar to that of the European Union, for example, and therefore it is not the intention of the regional body to exercise oversight on all the organs of Sadc and it is our view that our approach would be more consultative with all the organs of SADC.
“What is more important is that we were informed by what happened with respect to SADC Tribunal which was a creature that wanted to destroys the creator, and to that extent we said it is not our intention to be an overbearing on SADC and we said we will submit ourselves to the Sadc Summit and we will be so guided accordingly from time to time,” he said.
He said there was now consensus among member Parliaments.
“It is our hope that the Sadc summit that will take place in August this year will be a turning point in the transformation agenda so that the people of Sadc region will be able to foster economic, political and other social areas of integration,” he said.
The session is being held under the Theme: “Leveraging the AfCFTA for Post-Covid Economic Recovery in Southern Africa: The Role of SADC Parliamentary Forum and National Parliaments.”
Adv Mudenda called Zimbabwe had since ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area and implored member states to domesticate the instrument.
“It is important that Parliaments within Sadc PF now proceed to domesticate various areas of the agreement particularly in the form of custom and immigration laws so that we are in sync within custom and immigration laws which will enable free movement within the continent,” said Adv Mudenda.