The Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) held its 5th General Assembly from 24th to 25th November 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where among other businesses, elections for the new Regional Executive Council (REC) were conducted.
SAFOD had successfully organised the General Assembly, which was being held under the theme “Together we can rebuild and strengthen SAFOD and the disability sector in the region”, after almost eight years since the last General Assembly was held due to institutional challenges that the organisation had gone through.
In his Chairperson’s report, outgoing Chairperson, Mr Adao Joao Pombal, expressed excitement that finally, the membership of SAFOD had met not only to elect new leadership into the REC whose term expired in 2012.
“Even with the term expired we recruited the new Director General and created the Revival Committee,”he said.
Mr Pombal told the delegates that the General Assembly was one of the most critical element, or engine of governance, for any serious membership-based organisation, as it was one of the most important yardsticks in determining whether an organisation was alive or not.
“Without the General Assembly, it is as good as rendering ourselves non-existent, because the power to govern lies in you, the members, and there is no other platform where you can exercise such powers other than the General Assembly,”he said.
In his welcoming remarks, SAFOD Director General, Mr Mussa Chiwaula. said the General Assembly was a significant milestone especially since the organisation began the revival process in 2013.
The new REC will serve SAFOD for at least the next five years when another General Assembly is scheduled will be held, as per the constitution.
The whole rationale behind this theme is to ensure that we continue the process of reviving and rebuilding our most beloved organisation, SAFOD, so that we reclaim the glory and respect that we used to command in the region for years,”he said.
Mrs Rachel Kachaje, Chairperson of the Revival Committee – a special task-force that was instituted to oversee the revival process of SAFOD – expressed her gratitude to the Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People (FFO) for relentless bankrolling the whole revival process of SAFOD.
Said Mrs Kachaje: “It is my prayer that what happened in SAFOD will be lessons that each one of us has to learn from and that we hold hands together in solidarity. We should always remember that we all have differences but our common denominator is disability. Let us focus our eyes on it.”
SAFOD is a disability-focused network engaged in coordination of activities of organisations of Persons with Disabilities in the Southern Africa region. The organisation was formed in 1986 by persons with disabilities as a federation of Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs) with a strong presence in 10 countries, namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Besides holding elections of the REC, the General Assembly also deliberated on various reports presented by the outgoing Chairperson, Honorary Treasurer/ Secretary, Chairperson of the Revival Committee, and endorsed the SAFOD’s auditor.