Tuesday, April 5, 2011



By Dr. Frank Okuthe-Oyugi

Lusaka, Zambia

March 24, 2011

Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, ICGLR Executive Secretary was in Zambia in March 2011 for the much awaited signing ceremony of the Host Agreement between the Zambian authorities and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

The event that took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was attended by several Zambian dignitaries led by Hon. Kabinga J. Pande, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Also present were members of the Diplomatic Community based in Lusaka, Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Zambia, representatives of international and regional organizations and Partners of the ICGLR.

Accompanying Ambassador Liberata Mulamula were Dr. Frank Okuthe-Oyugi, the Executive Director of Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre and the Deputy Executive Secretary of the ICGLR, Mr. Charles Kapekela Chileya.

In her remarks, Ambassador Mulamula thanked President Rupiah Bwezani Banda and the Government of Zambia for accepting to host the Centre. She said that the event was a fulfilling end to a long Journey as it marked the culmination of the will of Member States of the ICGLR in the 2004 Dar-es-Salaam Declaration, which was followed by the signing of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Region in Nairobi 2006.

She recalled that it was the Nairobi meeting that had recommended the establishment of a Regional Centre in Zambia to act as a key institution for the promotion of Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education in the Region adding that the mission of the Regional Centre was to strengthen Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education through research, training, follow-up and facilitation of dialogue and consultations among stakeholders in the region.

The Centre would strengthen the ICGRL’s efforts in the search for durable solutions to issues of democracy, good governance, the rule of law and human rights for sustainable peace, security, stability and development in the region.

She further added that the setting up and naming of the Centre after the late President was a befitting tribute to a leader who had tirelessly championed good governance and wanted to make Zambia a shining example of a democratic state. She concluded by introducing the founding Executive Director of the Centre, Dr Frank Okuthe-Oyugi to the assembled guests.

Speaking at the same occasion, Zambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Kabinga Pande said that Zambia offered to host the Regional Centre because it had enjoyed peace since independence and that it was one of the countries in the Southern African Region that was advocating for democracy and good governance. He further said that Zambia took the lead in democratic change as early 1991 when other African countries were still reluctant to embrace democratic reforms.

Hon. Pande recalled that the country had hosted several liberation movements in Southern Africa from 1960s for three decades and that it was also the birthplace for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Agreement was signed by the Executive Secretary of ICGLR Ambassador Liberata Mulamula on behalf of ICGLR Secretariat and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Kabinga J. Pande on behalf of the Zambia Government.

The establishment of Levy Mwanawasa Centre epitomises the realisation a key institution for the promotion of Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education in the region.

The sole purpose of the Mwanawasa Centre is to reinforce the institutional capacities of Member States in the areas of Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education through research, training, follow-up and facilitation of dialogue among stakeholders in the region.

In this regard, the Centre seeks to establish observatories as evaluation and monitoring tools in order mainly to promote efficient and accountable leadership that inspires the citizenry, consolidate democratic principles and values within the Region, including compliance with Constitutional Order and Rule of Law.

The Center will strive to consolidate norms and principles of independence, impartiality and autonomy of the judicial systems by supervising and monitoring compliance with human rights, especially those of marginalized groups.

The observatories will be structured to monitor and observe the growth of democracy and good governance in the Great Lakes Region. Their main role will be to draw up inventories on the development of democracy and good governance as a system of political values favourable to social cohesion, good governance and human rights and promote socio-cultural values and democratic behaviour by means of civic education.

The observatories are the Regional Observatory on Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights; the Regional Observatory on Gender; the Regional Media Observatory and the Regional NGO Observatory.

The Centre will also facilitate the work of fora for Parliamentarians, Youth, Women and Civil Society, Regional Councils and Committees. It will provide a unique opportunity to develop a mechanism for monitoring conformity with the Nairobi Protocols, International Instruments Regional Agreements and facilitate follow-up. It will also create a mechanism to establish common norms and standards in democratic practice and good governance for the region based on research and engagement with local and regional practitioners.

The Centre will work with academic and research institutions in the member states and beyond to consolidate a database on the region enabling it to evolve into a data hub for the region. Ultimately, the Centre will assume the role of a “Think Tank” for the ICGLR.

Dr. Frank Okuthe

Executive Director,

The Levy Mwanawasa

Center for Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights

Lusaka, Zambia