The SADC-PF further associates itself with the UN theme of the International Day of Democracy this year which is “Empowering the next generation” since the youth are indeed to be active partakers in enhancing the democratic framework and in seeking accountability and transparency at all levels. This is especially true for Africa where the youth under 35 represents almost a billion individuals. The youth thus constitute the main stakeholders in ensuring that democracy survives for all and that democracy continues to energise the machinery of state institutions. In addition, the emerging challenges of the 21st century such as climate change, the energy crisis or instability of financial markets are those which direly need youth participation if the world envisions to resolve same in the next decades.
The Forum acknowledges that democracy is not to be taken for granted and that recent events on the international landscape in fact demonstrate that democracy is dangerously receding in many countries. To reinforce the democratic framework, the Forum is bringing Parliament to the People by holding a series of online public hearings through its Standing Committees from the 13th-18th October 2023, in view of ensuring that citizens’ voices are heard in line with the best standards of participatory democracy.
The Forum therefore invites citizens at large and the youth in particular, to inquire on the scheduling of the public hearings on the website of the SADC- PF and to participate in large numbers. This exercise forms part of the many initiatives of the Forum which aim to put democracy into action by consolidating the role of Parliaments in acting as agents of socio-economic change.
On this day, let us reminisce the achievements of democracy in the SADC region and around the world and revel of its potential to make the world a safer place. Let us all collaborate as partners to ensure that democracy continues to advance the voices of citizens in the SADC region and beyond. Long live democracy!
Ms B. Sekgoma, Secretary General, SADC-PF