Commonwealth gets new deputy Secretary General

Botswana’s Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba took office Monday as the Commonwealth’s new deputy Secretary General. In her speech at the Commonwealth headquarters in London, Masire-Mwamba pledged to help enhance the activities of Commonwealth within member states, as well as its involvement in international affairs.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Botswana’s Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba took office Monday as the Commonwealth’s new deputy Secretary General. In her speech at the Commonwealth headquarters in London, Masire-Mwamba pledged to help enhance the activities of Commonwealth within member states, as well as its involvement in international affairs.

“I would like to play a role in ensuring that we deliver effectively on the mandates of Heads of Government in a manner that impacts positively on the lives of the Commonwealth citizens by working together with member governments and other development partners,” she said.

Masire-Mwamba, who oversees political affairs, legal and constitutional affairs, human rights, youth affairs and corporate services at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said her multidisciplinary background coupled with her work experience in the public and private sectors will be an asset to the Commonwealth.

A solutions-based approach in problem solving is what Ms Masire-Mwamba has been trained in through her technical experience, a statement from the 53-nation member grouping indicated.

“I bring with me the principles and best practices from both the public and private sectors that can add value to the deepening relationship between the public and private sectors, as well as between international organisations and development agencies in our efforts to step up collaboration and to maximise impact through synergies,” said Masire-Mwamba.

Rwanda applied to join the Commonwealth in 2003 and a Commonwealth team is already in the country to assess whether Rwanda meets admission criteria.

The team is expected to meet senior Government officials, legislators, political party leaders and the civil society. It will assess among others, the nation’s election system, levels of democracy, governance and the judiciary.

Once the Secretary General is satisfied with the team’s report, member states will be contacted to seek their comments and Rwanda might then be allowed to make a formal application.

Parliament is yet to pass a resolution supporting the application, but Government officials The New Times talked to are confident that Rwanda fulfils all criteria to be admitted.

Reforms

Meanwhile, some Commonwealth leaders will meet in London on June 9 and 10 to discuss reform of international institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.

“There is a need for change, and that change must reflect the full global spectrum of interests and needs. International institutions must support an inclusive and comprehensive globalisation, which benefits the entire global community,” said Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General.

The meeting will focus on practical steps which Commonwealth member states can take to achieve reform and coherence of the global institutions.

Its three-part focus will be on the international financial institutions, global environmental governance, and the UN system.

The mini-summit is the first step in implementing the decision of last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda, where leaders decided to establish a small representative group from their association to undertake lobbying and advocacy for the reform of international institutions.

“We have to reform our global financial institutions. It is absolutely clear that the national supervision that we have is inadequate and we need a global agreement,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who will chair the meeting.

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