Windhoek-The SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) has expressed profound sadness following the passing on of former diplomat and former parliamentarian Nora Schimming-Chase.
SADC PF Secretary General, Dr Esau Chiviya, offered his “deepest condolences” to the government and people of Namibia as well as the entire Schimming-Chase family.
“A respected diplomat and fearless advocate of the rights of women and girls, Hon Schimming-Chase diligently served as vice-chairperson of SADC PF from 15 November 2006 to 27 November 2008. Whenever she presided over the Plenary Assembly Session in place of the chairperson, she did so with unrivalled eloquence and firmness,” Chiviya said.
The SG noted Schimming-Chase once served also as a member of the HIV and AIDS Standing Committee of the SADC Parliamentary Forum from June 2006 to November 2008.
“Overall, she devoted a lot of her time and energy furthering the ideals of SADC PF. Namibia and indeed the continent have lost a steadfast advocate for human rights. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those whose lives were positively impacted by this great woman. Her passing on is a major loss,” he said.
His Royal Highness Prince Guduza, the former Speaker of the National Assembly of Swaziland, who also once served as chairperson of SADC PF expressed “great shock and a deep sense of sadness” following Schimming-Chase’s death.
“I recall with gratitude how much of a very wise and intelligent person she was. She added value to the very many important tasks that the SADC PF had charged us with,” HRH Guduza said in a statement.
He said Schimming-Chase had supported ongoing efforts to transform SADC PF into a regional parliament. He added that she was a stickler for optimal use of scarce resources at the forum and cherished peace and tranquillity.
“She was instrumental in motivating presiding officers (Speakers) from various countries that are represented in SADC PF, to go on a goodwill mission and ascertain that the government of Zimbabwe was operating in conformity with the guidelines and dictates of the Government of National Unity (GNU).”
HRH Guduza reminisced that she had remarkable leadership qualities, exuded authority and diligently presided over the Plenary Assembly Session of SADC PF whenever she acted as chairperson.
“She was an extraordinarily brilliant and gifted person.”
Botswana’s former MP Ambassador Duke Lefhoko described her as “the embodiment of kindness, resoluteness, candidness, excellence and diplomatic finesse”.
He said, “She was endowed with the true lion heart trait that I find common among women rather than men,” adding that she was a brave woman.
Amb Lefhoko worked with her within SADC PF when he was treasurer and subsequently vice-chairperson of the forum.
“We participated together in some election observation missions in the SADC region. She was meticulous at work.”
He recalled that Schimming-Chase was deeply hurt and shed a tear when the executive within the SADC region “dealt the SADC Tribunal a fatal blow”.
He said Schimming-Chase was a “true democrat” and that her passing on was a loss not only to Namibia, SADC and Africa, but the rest of the world.