Harare, Zimbabwe – On 17 February 2016, AWEPA renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the Parliament of Zimbabwe. Signing on behalf of AWEPA’s President, Minister of State Ms. Miet Smet, was AWEPA’s representative in Southern Africa, Deputy Director Bilateral Programmes and Partner Relations, Ms. Kudzai Makombe.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Adv. Jacob F. Mudenda, praised the partnership between AWEPA and the Parliament of Zimbabwe. He recognised the achievements of the partnership, highlighting the capacity building of staff and Members of Parliament (MPs) through exchange visits to South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya under a previous programme, and the support provided to allow Members to participate in various international fora. Hon. Adv. Mudenda also asserted that the ability of MPs to debate and articulate issues supported through AWEPA capacity development initiatives was evidence of the benefits of the partnership.
Ms. Makombe noted that the partnership between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and AWEPA had been in existence since the 1980s, with the most recent programme concluding in 2014. She outlined the focus of the Strategic Partnership Programme, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs working in partnership with AWEPA and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in Zimbabwe. Ms. Makombe emphasised that in the five years up to 2020, the programme would focus on the priority areas as defined by Parliament in order to build the capacity of MPs and staff to contribute to the business and democratic processes of parliament. She recognised the highly regarded Zimbabwe Institute (ZI), described by the Speaker as “our [Parliament’s] all-weather friend”, as the local partner for both AWEPA and NIMD.
The signing was witnessed by ZI Executive Director, Mr. Isaac Maposa and NIMD Strategic Partnership Zimbabwe Programme Manager, Mr. Egbert Pos. Also attending the signing ceremony were the President of Senate Hon. Edna Madzongwe, the Deputy Speaker, Deputy President and senior parliamentary officers. The ceremony was officiated by the Clerk, Mr. Kennedy M. Chokuda.
MoUs were also signed between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Public Affairs and Parliamentary Support Trust (PAPST) and Transparency International Zimbabwe.