The Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust commemorates a milestone achievement in provision of technical and financial support to the Parliaments of Southern Africa in their core functions of executive oversight, law-making and representation. This year, the organisation celebrates 10 years of existence under the theme “Celebrating 10 years of Excellence in Parliamentary Strengthening.” To mark the celebrations, SAPST hosted a dinner for development partners and stakeholders. The dinner which was attended by over 100 people was held at Zimbali Gardens in Greendale-Harare on 26 May 2017. In his solidarity remarks, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda expressed gratitude over SAPST’s support over the years.
“We cannot ignore the pivotal role SAPST has played over the past decade by making parliamentary educational information on Parliamentary processes more accessible to citizens while strengthening the capacity of Parliament to engage civil society on the same,” he said.
“This is in line with the open Parliament philosophy premised on the establishment of accountable, accessible and responsive Parliaments as they fulfil their constitutional roles. I wish to convey our heartfelt gratitude to SAPST which has been the leading provider of outside technical assistance to the Parliament of Zimbabwe.”
Advocate Mudenda hailed the partnership between Parliament and SAPST saying they had ensured that Parliament did not become a rubber-stamping arm of the State.
“As we have heard, the previous speakers chronicled a hopeful and inspiring journey of the Parliamentary Strengthening Programme whose objective is to actualise the dream of robust, vibrant, independent and democratic Parliaments.
“It is through such a sound partnership which has eliminated the notion of the legislature as a rubberstamping arm of the State in the legislative processes. In addition to the constitutional provisions, the extent to which Parliament influences policy has been improved by enhancing the capacities of Members involved through such technical cooperation with SAPST,” he said.
Speaking at the same event Board of Trustees Chairperson Dr Innocent Matshe said they would continue to support legislative assemblies in the region through various activities such as capacity building for lawmakers. He said they would also take Parliament to the people to enhance transparency and accountability consistent with reforms that Parliament had set out to achieve over the years.
SAPST Executive Director Mr John Makamure commended the improvement that had been registered on the Parliament committee system. He said Parliament’s oversight role had been enhanced through the committees.