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DRC, Malawi to chair Sadc PF model laws committee

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CALLS FOR SUPPORT — Ndebele

By Moses Magadza:

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Malawi were last week elected chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the recently-constituted Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee (RPMLOC) of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum.

This happened as the regional inter-parliamentary body acted towards ensuring that the region’s citizens benefit meaningfully from the development of regional soft laws.

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Model laws are typically developed in line with international human rights law and international best practices.

The RPMLOC held its virtual meeting on Friday and elected DRC lawmaker Andre Leon Tumba as its chair for the next two years. Malawian Member of Parliament (MP) Bertha Ndebele shrugged off a challenge from Mozambique’s Jeronima Agostinho to garner 60 percent of the vote and land the post of vice-chairperson.

The committee’s mandate, among others, is to monitor domestication of Sadc model laws by Sadc member states; and facilitate awareness on specific issues in model laws by engaging with appropriate authorities, grass-roots and community- based organisations and the private sector, including the media.

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In an interview, Tumba said being elected to the helm of the RPMLOC meant a lot to him and the DRC.

“The election is clearly a cause for hope and pride. As you know the DRC has shown signs of democracy during our last general election. We witnessed power transfer between the new president and the former president,” he said.

Tumba, who has a background in law, urged Sadc MPs to support efforts “to fully or partially domesticate” provisions of model laws to buttress their national laws.

On her part, Ndebele said her election has raised her profile and presents “a great opportunity for Malawi to benefit a lot” from participation on the RPMLOC.

“Parliaments and MPs should support tracking and domestication of model laws through liaising with their line ministries and reporting the progress to the RPMLOC. We have model laws that were formulated but lack enforcement,” she said.

Sadc PF Secretary- General Boemo Sekgoma said domestication and incorporation of legal norms at national level would ensure application and enforcement.

“Due to the principle of dualism in Sadc member states, the legal provisions adopted at international level do not find any application at national level despite instruments of ratification or accession duly made and deposited with the relevant authorities,” Sekgoma said.

She also disclosed that only chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of thematic committees of Sadc PF and the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) are members of the RPMLOC.

The Sadc PF has so far developed model laws on HIV and Aids, elections, eradicating child marriage and protecting those already in marriage, elections, and minimum standards on the protection of key populations.

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