News and Information

Youth Parliament starts next month
August 12, 2004
GABORONE - The Botswana National Assembly is soon to have its own youth parliament as mooted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in London.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday Borolong MP Ronald Sebego said the youth parliament the Youth a chance to participate, learn and contribute to the values of parliamentary democracy.

All commonwealth member countries are encouraged to have youth parliaments.

Sebego who is the chairman of the Task Force formed to implement the youth parliament said would run from August 26 to 31st and dissolved on the 1st of September. Before attending parliament the participants would be oriented for three days starting September 23.

Sebego said youth parliament was a concept of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) expressed in its strategic plan for the period of 2003-2007.

"The basic aim behind this ideology is to educate and interest the youth with practical experience of the parliamentary system." Sebego said young people would understand the principles, which underpin democracy and civil society, develop the skills to use that knowledge effectively and be able to participate in the appropriate fora.

He further said youth parliament will provide participants with an opportunity to acquire upon many skills such as, public speaking, debate, presentation, research and organisational skills, and aiding personal development of the youth.

Sebego said that the Botswana General Assembly has accepted that Youth Parliament be held in the Parliament Chamber. He said it was not easy to come up with participants, because the idea is to have representatives from all districts.

He said with the help of all youth organisations, it was decide that students of primary schools, secondary schools, tertiary institutions, technical colleges, and other youth belonging to other organisations aged between 12 and 29 are to make up the parliament.

" This is still new, and not all districts will be represented equally, and people should look forward to more changes, because the idea is to make the youth decide on what they want and how they want it basing on the parliamentary system. The final decisions will be published after the first session of this parliament." The youth parliament is to be based on the present number of political parties represented in parliament. It is proposed that 57 constituencies will form the parliament with four Special elected MPs.

The Youth Parliament participants will be given an opportunity to assume the role of President, Vice President, cabinet Ministers, Leader of the House, leader of the Opposition, speaker, clerks at the table and Attorney General.

Sebego said however regarding some of the positions, it may be necessary to engage experienced officials.

The parliament will have a Hansard, with the hope that all ideas discussed will crystallise and be used in future to influence the main parliament.

It is hoped that other issues and ideas will come from what transpires from the first parliament.

Proposed political parties in the Youth Parliament are the Social Alliance Party (SAP) with the believe that all opposition parties must unite to oppose the ruling party.

Botswana Communist League (BCL) with the believe in Marxist-Leninist communism.

The Christian National Movement (CNM) believing that Christianity must be unequivocally proclaimed "State religion" The People 's Congress for Justice (PCJ) as a pro-Western party that cherishes western values such as abolition of capital punishment, no corporal punishment for women and children, and monogamy.

The Task force to spearhead the preparation and running of the Youth Parliament consists of among others Members of parliament Lesedi Mothibamele as member of the executive committee; Ronald Sebego as the Chairperson; together with representatives of Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC), Secretary of UNESCO within the Ministry of Education; Youth Coordinator in the Department of Culture and Youth, parliament staff, deputy Clerk, Chief Research Information and Public Relations Officer, Principal Clerk, senior Editor and editor.

UNDP, British High commission, and the ACP secretariat in London fund the Youth parliament.

The Youth Parliament is open to the public and media during its sessions.



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