Ex-speaker elected to African parly

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

FORMER Speaker of Parliament, Ntlhoi Motsamai, has been elected to the Pan African Parliament (PAP) at the fifth Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament.

Ms Motsamai, who is a member of the Democratic Congress (DC), was elected to represent the opposition parties of Lesotho. Kose Makoa, Thabo Sophonea and ’Mamoipone Senaumane are the government representatives at PAP.

PAP recently convened in Midrand, South Africa, under the theme ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in the Youth’.

The PAP is an organ of the African Union (AU) with consultative and advisory powers.

It seeks to facilitate the implementation of human rights and democracy in Africa, as well as encouraging good governance, transparency and accountability in AU member states.

The PAP has a further obligation to promote peace, security and stability, as well as acquaint Africans with policies aimed at integrating the African continent within the framework of the AU.

DC spokesperson, Serialong Qoo told the Lesotho Times that while Mr Motsamai’s election was a commendable move, it had however, come “at a wrong time when Lesotho is at the peak of instability, therefore we don’t see the good in it”.

Ms Motsamai became the deputy speaker of parliament of Lesotho in 1996 and in 1999 she was elected speaker at the age of 36, making her the youngest speaker in Africa.

She is also the first woman to hold the position.

She was elected chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in November 2002.

During that time, there were only three women parliamentarians in the National Assembly. Ms Motsamai was then a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) which was under the leadership of former Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili.

In 2012, Dr Mosisili’s government was toppled and her tenure as speaker also ended.

She bounced back when Dr Mosisili returned to office at the head of the then newly-formed DC party.

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