A Mission of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC - PF) on Friday 6th July, 2018 paid President Edgar Chagwa Lungu a visit at State House in order to lobby for Zambia’s support towards the transformation of the SADC- PF from a parliamentary forum to a parliament.

The Mission was led by Hon. Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, President of the SADC – PF and Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola who informed President Lungu that since 2004, the SADC – PF had been trying to propose that it becomes the SADC Parliament but that there had been no consensus from the SADC Council of Ministers and the Summit.

Hon. Dias dos Santos also informed President Lungu that he was of the view that the SADC – PF has now met all the conditions that were points of concern and which were the basis for the lack of consensus in the SADC Council of Ministers and the Summit.

He further stated that the kind of Parliament that the SADC Parliament is envisioned to be is one that would be aligned with SADC Summit of Heads of State and member parliaments. Hon. Dias dos Santos added that the SADC Parliament once established would help to accelerate economic integration.

Hon. Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa who was also part of the SADC - PF Mission informed President Lungu that several Heads of State were in support of the transformation of the SADC – PF into SADC Parliament and that Zambia’s support was also very important.

Rt. Hon Justice Dr. Patrick Matibini, SC, FCIArb, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia in backing up his colleagues stated that there were many socio-economic initiatives mounted by SADC Heads of State that required suitable legislation and that the establishment of the SADC Parliament was imperative for such cause.

Speaker Matibini also stated that the SADC region stood out as the only region in Africa without a regional parliament while the rest of the African regions had regional parliaments.

He further submitted that it was hoped that the issue of transforming the SADC – PF into SADC Parliament would receive some attention at the next SADC Summit of Heads of State scheduled for August this year.

President Edgar Lungu in responding to the issues raised by the three Speakers said that the idea of transforming the SADC – PF into SADC Parliament was a good one but that he would make further consultations regarding the issue before giving the SADC – PF Secretariat his position on the matter.

The SADC – PF was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC. It is a regional inter-parliamentary body comprising fourteen (14) parliaments and head quartered in Windhoek, Namibia. The member parliaments are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Forum seeks to bring regional experiences to bear at the national level, to promote best practices in the role of parliaments in regional cooperation and integration as outlined in the SADC Treaty and the Forum’s Constitution. Its main aim is to provide a platform for parliaments and parliamentarians to promote and improve regional integration in the SADC region, through parliamentary involvement.