Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will visit Mozambique and Lesotho from 17-21 April 2011, marking his first official visit to both Southern African countries. The Secretary-General will discuss with leaders of both countries on ways to deepen and diversify existing areas of co-operation and partnership, as well as to update them on Commonwealth initiatives.
In Mozambique, Mr Sharma will call on President Armando Emilio Guebuza. He will also hold bilateral discussions with senior Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Aires Bonifacio Ali, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Oldemiro Julio Balói.
In Lesotho, the Secretary-General will call on His Majesty King Letsie III. He will also meet Prime Minister Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili and hold talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa, and with other members of the Cabinet.
The Secretary-General is also expected to meet Leader of the Opposition, Tom Thabane.
In his meetings with leaders, Mr Sharma will discuss preparations for the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Perth, Australia, in October. The Secretary-General will also update leaders on reform of the Commonwealth and the progress of meetings by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), which held its fourth meeting in London, UK, last month. The 11-member group will report to CHOGM on ways to sharpen the impact, strengthen the networks, and raise the profile of the association.
Mr Sharma’s visits will also be an opportunity for him to update leaders on the Commonwealth Network of Election Management Bodies (CNEMB). The CNEMB was set up to increase collaboration and boost the standards of election management bodies, which play a significant role in strengthening democracy across the Commonwealth.
Also under discussion will be a review of the role and mandate of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which deals with serious or persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.