The Speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane officially launched the 50th plenary session of the Southern African Development Community- Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) this Wednesday at the National Assembly premises.
Motanyane said the plenary will be held virtually as Lesotho gets its second bit of the cherry in hosting the regional session penned for December 10 to 12, 2021 under the theme â€œcelebrating a new era of democracy toward consolidating vibrant voices of SADC parliamentarians.â€
He said the forum helps members to meet at least twice a year to share ideas on good governance and development on good health for people living in the SADC region. Either economic, political and social-cultural issues like human trafficking, free trade of goods and services, human rights issues, gender based violence as well as climate change and food security.
â€œThe mandate of this forum is to ensure that the voice of Members of Parliament, as public representatives, should be included in the SADC decisions and that the MPs should be watchdogs in the SADC agreements, treaties and protocols declarations are put to practice by nations,â€ Motanyane said.
The forum is comprised of 15 MPs from the SADC countries and operates like parliaments with two members; speaker of the National Assembly and deputy.
Lesotho representatives in the SADC-PF are Lebohang Maema who is also the Clerk of the National Assembly, Lekhetho Mosito, TÅ¡epang Mosita, Mphosi Nkhasi, NtÅ¡alla Mafa and Senator Ramoqhai Peete.
He said Lesotho once held the two positions; Ntlhoi Motsamai was SADC-PF chairperson in 2002 to 2004 while Nthekeleng Mofolo became vice president in 2012 to 2014. The forum has 14 committees where each parliament is chaired by each person and the business of such committee is discussed in depth and reports are made.
He said the forum was formed in 1997 by SADC Heads of State and Governments under SADC treaty as the independent body of parliament and that the parliament of Lesotho has since been a member of the meeting and hosted the first plenary in 2003.
â€œWe are happy to once again be given a chance to host this 50th plenary,â€ he said.
â€œThe theme will allow SADC parliamentarians an opportunity to introspect and reflect on the forumâ€™s milestones while mapping the future as a newly established SADC parliament.
â€œThe sessions will not only present an opportunity to mark the 50th celebrations but will also be the first to be held after the 41st Ordinary Summit SADC of Heads of State and Government in August 17 to 18, 2021 which was held at Lilongwe Malawi, approved transformation of SADC-PF into SADC parliament as a consultative and deliberative body.
â€œI Wish to assure you that the parliament of Lesotho is ready and committed to hosting the 50th plenary assembly virtually and to making this event not only a success but also a memorable one to all delegates and Basotho nation,â€ he said.