Assembly speaker renews support for Pan-African Parliament


19-July-2004

The meeting, Speaker MacGregor said, was an opportunity to introduce Mr Bramdeo to the democratic institution of Seychelles, which he said has a long-standing relation with the South African parliament.

Speaker MacGregor (left) with South African High Commissioner Ajay Bramdeo

Seychelles, he said, has been supportive of the South African-led initiative to establish the Pan-African Parliament and also voted in favour for its headquarters to be based in South Africa instead of Egypt.

The parliament, which to date regroups 30 countries on the continent, was set up last month.
                                                               
"We supported South Africa because we believe that it has very good democratic institutions and practices, and after knowing so much injustice, it has today set up a credible justice system which upholds the values of democracy," Speaker MacGregor explained.

The aim of the Pan-African Parliament is to promote democratic principles among African countries and provide a framework for collective efforts in the fight against the spread of HIV-Aids, for instance.

The speaker of the Pan-African Parliament is Gertrude Mongelia, a former speaker from Tanzania who is also said to be a fervent gender activist.

Its link with the South African Parliament, Speaker MacGregor said, has enabled members of the National Assembly to benefit from various exchanges and has opened new doors for parliamentarians, for instance in the SADC-affiliated Southern African Parliamentary Forum.

By participating in the forum, MNAs have on numerous occasions been invited to act as observers in elections in several SADC-member countries. However, Speaker MacGregor said now that Seychelles has withdrawn its membership from SADC, Mr Bramdeo has promised to clarify the country's future role and responsibility through the parliamentary forum.

Mr Bramdeo, who will be based in Port-Louis, Mauritius, has also said he would encourage more exchanges between the National Assembly and the parliament in South Africa.

Discussions also focused on the forthcoming conference for Speakers from Commonwealth countries in Africa to take place in Lesotho early next year.

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