Energy insecurity threat to democracy: Chakwera
Chakwera said that energy insecurity is a threat to “our democracy and that we must recognise that we cannot consolidate its gains while our people struggle with energy needs due to scarcity".
Malawi: President Lazarus Chakwera presided over the official opening of the SADC Parliamentary Forum's 51st Plenary Assembly Session, saying that it is his sincere hope that this Plenary Assembly Session will find meaningful solutions to the region's problems and that there is no doubt that this darkness will pass.
He stated this on July 11, 2022, at the BICC in Lilongwe.
"It is in times of hardship, calamity and uncertainty that we Africans know to lean on those we regard as family and so for us as a great SADC family, that time of uncertainty in which we must band together for strength and endurance has come and there is no doubt in my mind that the darkness will pass,” he said.
“And there is no storm in this world that can break the bond of solidarity and brotherhood that bind us together. Not only we will survive this storm together, but we are here to resolve, to rebuild the bridges necessary for reaching a brighter."
Chakwera went on to say that energy insecurity is a threat to “our democracy and that we must recognise that we cannot consolidate its gains while our people struggle with energy needs due to scarcity, inequitable distribution, and rising prices”.
"We cannot progress if we are so stuck in reverse that a programme designed to electrify our people in rural areas only adds to the strain on the national grid, which is already struggling to meet current demands,” he e stated.
Ms Boemo Sekgoma, Secretary-General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, stated in her remarks that during the 51st Plenary Assembly, as a key motion is debated on the floor, Parliaments must address competing concerns, which include recovering the economy to offset the impact of the pandemic and rising commodity prices.
She went on to say that this development should address gender mainstreaming from a human rights standpoint and that it should be fully aligned with regional agendas such as the Africa Agenda 2063.
"In addition, there is a need to consider how to tighten intra-Africa trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area and make sure that African women are empowered through entrepreneurship, to tap into the envisaged economic gains,” she said.
The Comoros, the SADC's sixteenth member, has yet to join the SADC Parliamentary Forum, so 14 of the 15 Parliaments are represented, and 10 delegations are led by speakers, while four are led by members of the parliament because the respective speakers were unable to attend.
And, of the 15 speakers from SADC member parliaments, six are female, accounting for 40% of the total, with ten male speakers and three female speakers accounting for the remaining 27%. Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia are among the delegations led by female speakers.