The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr Elias M. Mpedi, has applauded the Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) for the great impact it has made on communities, stating that through its pastoral cooperation, theological study, divine healing and direct engagement with citizens, it has played a major contribution through word of prayer.
H.E Magosi said this when he welcomed an IMBISA delegation led by Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu which paid a courtesy call on him at the SADC Secretariat office in Gaborone, Botswana on 17thNovember 2021. The objective of the meeting was to formally introduce IMBISA to SADC, and to discuss possible areas of cooperation between the two institutions following the appointment of H.E Magosi to the position of Executive Secretary of SADC in August 2021.
H.E Magosi reiterated SADC’s willingness to collaborate with different stakeholders in the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030. He said the mandate of SADC is drawn from the SADC Treaty which sets out the organisation’s objectives, institutions, and systems of operation at the same time recognising the need for stronger regional integration in order to further development of the Region.
He highlighted that it was critical to come up with mechanisms which will offer platforms to fully engage the civil society to make meaningful contributions to development of policies and other instruments which directly impact lives.
Archbishop Ndlovu congratulated the Executive Secretary on his appointment to this portfolio and wished him the best in undertaking assignments as mandated by the Region, particularly to lead the SADC institution to new heights despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said his visit was mainly to introduce IMBISA to SADC and identify areas of cooperation through a proposition that IMBISA is accorded an observer status at SADC hence making a formal submission of a proposal stipulating the preferred cooperation with the regional body, with special consideration of SADC Protocols.
He mentioned that through effective collaboration, the two parties were in a good space to achieve more, guided by the SADC focus on integration, cooperation, and partnership considering that regional activities would serve as a useful platform for strengthening ties amongst Member States through sharing of best practices for promoting the common good.
IMBISA’s added value would be to leverage on its convening power and moral influence within the Christian community in the Region to support the broader regional integration agenda as a faithbased actor. The Archbishop added that his intention was to enhance a close engagement with all stakeholders and foster strong partnerships which will in return aid the SADC institution to deliver on areas which required collaborative efforts to advance and achieve results.
IMBISA is an organ of liaison and pastoral cooperation of Southern Africa which promotes the spirit of collegiality (togetherness), prophetic role of the Catholic Church, companionship, providing leadership, responding to the need of time through evangelisation in a spirit of communication, solidarity and mutual support. It has over the years played a key role in peacebuilding initiatives in the Region and looks forward to deepened corporation with SADC.
Archbishop Ndlovu, who is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Harare, was accompanied by the Bishop of Manzini and Standing Committee Member, Bishop Jose Luis Ponce de Leon IMC; Bishop of Gaborone, Archbishop Frank Atese Nubuasah SVD; IMBISA Secretariat Director, Father Dumisani Vilakati from Eswatini and IMBISA Secretariat Programmes Officer from Zimbabwe, Ms Brenda Gwasira; while the Executive Secretary was accompanied by Dr Admiral Ncube from the Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilisation Directorate.