6 NEWS Tuesday, December 12 2017 | NEW ERA SADC PF plenary ups momentum Moses Magadza The 42nd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC PF ended in the Namibian capital Windhoek on December 3, 2017 with delegates focusing on consolidating issues that started at the 41st plenary assembly session in Seychelles, which ushered in a new leadership within the regional deliberative body. Among the main issues deliberated and agreed upon was the issue of transformation of the SADC PF into a SADC regional parliament. When the plenary began, SADC PF President Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, who is also the Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, called for concerted efforts to transform the Forum into a regional legislative body in keeping with its founding objectives. Sheuneni Kurasha, the parliamentary business focal person at SADC PF, said many MPs and national parliaments were now supportive of the envisaged transformation. “There is consensus among SADC member parliaments that there is need for a regional parliament. The SADC Treaty places an obligation on member states to ratify SADC decisions for them to take effect,” Kurasha said in an interview. In almost all SADC member other decisions is the responsibility of parliament. The absence of a regional parliament in Southern Africa means there is no legislative tion of SADC decisions by national parliaments. “SADC PF tries to assume that role but within the context and con- not legislative. Accordingly, the just ended plenary resolved to accelerate engagement with SADC heads of state and government and other stakeholders on the need for a SADC regional parliament,” he added. The SADC region remains the only one of the regional economic communities (RECs) of Africa without a regional legislative assembly. The plenary welcomed progress made toward the development of a SADC model law on elections under the SADC PF’s Standing Committee of Democratization, Governance and Human Rights. Expectations are that the model law would facilitate the domestication of electoral instruments. In the area of gender, the plenary agreed to focus on gender-responsive budgeting, which is the mainstreaming of gender issues across the budget development process, to ensure that issues that affect men and women, but in particular women for historical reasons, are addressed through the budget via allocation of resources. In the same vein, the plenary highlighted the importance of the participation of women in elections, politics and decision-making to ensure that gender equality, as it relates to increased representation, participation, and empowerment of women, is realised, given that women constitute the majority in many countries. Delegates were briefed on major developments in different countries. For instance, the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, updated the plenary on the situation in Zimbabwe following recent events that led to the resignation of Robert Mugabe as president and the subsequent inauguration of the new president, Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. The plenary wished Zimbabwe well and expressed optimism that the fortunes of ordinary Zimbabweans would improve. From Lesotho’s Speaker of the National Assembly Sephiri Enoch Motanyane, the plenary received an update regarding what has been an ongoing political crisis in that country, which has prompted SADC to intervene through a commission previously and more recently, a peacekeeping mission. In recent years, each time Lesotho went into a general election, it has been forced to form a coalition government because none of the parties has been able to garner adequate numbers to be able to form a government on its own. Those coalition governments have been fractious, leading to their collapse and snap elections being elections have been called in Lesotho. Motanyane explained that there had been notable progress in Lesotho in terms of implementation of reforms recommended by SADC PF, the African Union, the Commonwealth Observer Mission and others after the last elections which were held in May 2017, in which SADC PF participated as an observer. The plenary welcomed the good tidings of progress in Lesotho and encouraged the new government and stakeholders to continue implementing reforms to ensure that the country returns to normalcy. Recommendations made include the need which has triggered instability when it has led to imbalance in terms of numbers that political parties are required to remain in government. Angolan Speaker dos Santos briefed the plenary on the last election, which took place in Angola on August 23 2017 which SADC PF unfortunately did not observe. SADC regulations stipulate that in order for an election observation mission to be deployed, there is need for a quorum of seven member states. Only four SADC member states expressed willingness to send observers to Angola. Since this did not make up a quorum, the Forum could not send observes. Delegates stressed the need for SADC PF to observe all elections in SADC member states. They argued that this was in line with the oversight mandate of parliaments. The plenary noted that Angolan elections were conducted peacefully and ushered in a new president, João Lourenço, a former member of SADC PF. Election observation does not seem to be getting the attention of cooperating partners, yet in the eyes of SADC MPs it remains an important issue, as it constitutes an important aspect of democracy. Noting that election observers have a restraining effect, Kurasha said the presence of observers during an election tends to boost the “This is because observers have a mandate to assess the extent to which member states adhere to the various codes of conduct that obtain in member parliaments. Election observation missions provide an opportunity for independent witnesses to elections. To that extent, they guarantee integrity of electoral processes.” The plenary resolved that parliaments that are ready and able must participate in observer missions. However, delegates highlighted the need for all SADC member parliaments to participate, saying when more parliaments participate, it becomes cheaper and lends more legitimacy to elections. Veterans Affairs Invitation for Bids (IFB) Open Advertised Bidding FESTIVE SEASON OFFICE CLOSURE 1. Procument Tittle: Demolition of existing structure Procument Description: Demolishing of existing old structure at star Protection Service in Ondangwa W/ONB/31/02-2017 1) Interested eligible bidders may obtain further information from Veterans Affairs: Mr Jacob Shaanika, email: Jakob.Shaanika@mova.gov.na and inspect the Bidding Documents at the address given below from 08h:00 to 12h00. and the availability of all mandatory documents on the submission of a written application to the address below and upon payment of a non-refundable fee of N$ 350.00. The method of payment will be cash payment. The Bidding Documents will be sent by hand delivery. Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 09H00. 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Tuesday, December 12 2017 | NEW ERA FOCUS 7 Geneva 2017 talks doomed to failure After failing to bring a solution to the prolonged Syria war by seven rounds of talks the eighth round held on November 30th, 2017 in Geneva was also not expected to achieve any breakthrough. The demands of the Syrian opposition led by Nasr Al-Hariri about the discharge of the Bashar al-Assad from the participation in political settlement caused resolute the aversion from official Syrian delegation headed by the permanent representative to the United Nations headquarter in New York Bashar Jaafri. It was surprising only the special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura - has supported opposition’s demands. But thanks to efforts of the Russian side that the negotiation process were restarted. And under the scheme applied in the capital of Kazakhstan Astana both delegations carried on negotiations ‘through a wall.’ Staffan De Mistura was able to run from one negotiator to another. Despite various political maneuvers, ideas and initiatives, both delegations have come to conclusion about the uselessness of further “dialogue,” and the delegation of Damascus left Geneva. Staffan De Mistura has expressed hope of the continuation of negotiations and it convinced the opposition to remain in Geneva. In the capital of Kazakhstan all without exception had a positive result. The main secret of the positive results is covered in thorough training, reasonableness of a forum and responsibility of its organizers. The participants of negotiations had no place to disappear under the pressure of convincing initiatives of the organizers at the valid relation to all participants of dialogue literally. The role of Staffan De Mistura who did not interfere with negotiating process has been besides, accurately defined, carrying out less important function of the coordinator. Here again he was on a position head. As, the last meeting in Astana already carried the international level with the participation of observers Arabian and other states. Today it is necessary to A SUMMER H LIDAY WORTH EVERY SMILE MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR VEHICLE AND DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOUR NEXT JOURNEY. WE WISH YOU SAFE TRAVELS. Toll-Free: 081 918 47 (MTC) 0800 309 231 (TN Mobile) ascertain that 8th conference in Geneva was premature. Recently Russia was actively connected to the organization of the post-war device and crisis overcoming in Syria. Roads Authority, Private Bag 12030, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek, Namibia Tel: +264 61 284 7000 | Fax: +246 61 284 7655 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: www.ra.org.na Moscow was extremely frostily concerned about the unreasoned haste of the Syrian opposition and the parties sup- and Saudi Arabia) on meeting carrying out in Geneva. In the opinion the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, it would be most Astana, to discuss problems and to develop a common position on four questions declared earlier (the constitution, a transition period and the power, de-escalation zones, the struggle against decision to hold a national Syrian forum for preparing the directions and stages of crisis political settlement.