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Parties to make up new youth council

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The proposed National Youth Council (NYC) will be made up of three youths from leading political parties, two of whom shall be nominated by the ruling party, a senior government official has said.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Makalo Theko, said this on Monday while briefing stakeholders on the progress made so far on plans to set up the council.

“The NYC committee will accommodate three representatives of political party youth leagues, two of whom shall be nominated by the party commanding the majority in the National Assembly,” Theko said.

“The third member will be nominated by all opposition parties in parliament.”

The National Youth Council Act, 2008 also says the NYC committee will comprise a representative each from youth associations of people living with disability, institutions of higher learning, religious youth associations and associations of youth in business among others.

The minister will also appoint into the committee two people who have the knowledge, expertise and interest in youth development, the Act says.

The Act also stipulates that members of the committee at the community council level would operate under the watchful eye of community councillors.

“The delegates will represent youth at community council level and will answer to community council under the Local Government Ministry,” Theko said.  

According to Theko preparations for the NYC elections were being made “although I cannot say for sure when they will be”.  

 “I cannot say for sure, but elections for the National Youth Council committee will likely be held before the end of April if things go according to plan,” Theko said.

Theko said the purpose of the meeting was also to inform the youth about the laws regulating the council’s electoral processes and the purpose the council would serve as stipulated in both the National Youth Council Act, 2009 and the National Youth Council Regulations 2009.

 “We realised there was need to establish the NYC as there are many youth associations in our midst,” Theko said.

“The council will be a body responsible for co-ordinating youth activities nationwide thus enabling us to work and interact with the youth easily. The NYC will also be the hands, eyes, ears and mouth for youths aged between 15 and 35 years.”

Theko said the NYC would also allow Basotho youth to interact at bilateral, regional and international levels with youth from other countries.

The gender ministry’s permanent secretary, however, said only associations officially registered with the Law Office qualified to join the NYC.

“We need to first instill the spirit of patriotism within the youth and ensure their welfare and participation in the country’s affairs,” Theko said.

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