Gaborone — Lesotho has endorsed Botswana's candidate, Dr Phenyo Butale, for the next Pan African Parliament (PAP) president.
The endorsement follows a visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the Kingdom recently, where he introduced Dr Butale and sought support from the Lesotho Prime Minister, Dr Thomas Thabane.
In an interview, Mr Masisi said he sought support from Lesotho's prime minister, Dr Thabane, who acceded to support Dr Butale's candidature.
"The prime minister readily and quickly acceded to my request to support Dr Butale in his quest to become the next president of Pan African Parliament. I did make it a point to them that despite that Dr Butale is from the opposition, we are fully behind his candidature and we also want Lesotho to learn from our coexistence with opposition," he said.
Pan African Parliament has five regions, which include north, west, eastern, southern and central.
Each country nominates five MPs from among sitting MPs in their parliaments to be part of PAP. In all the five regions, each region nominates a candidate for PAP leadership.
The first round of elections for the candidates in the Southern Africa region will be held in Midrand, South Africa on May 7, where Dr Butale will face an aspirant from Zimbabwe, Mr Chief Charumbira.
A candidate who will be voted by the region will face other candidates from other regions on May 10.
In an interview, Dr Butale said the National Assembly endorsed his candidacy for PAP presidency and the Speaker had since written to all Speakers in the continent canvassing for support.
Should Dr Butale win, he will face other aspirants also vying for the position from Cameroon, the incumbent PAP president, Mr Rodger Nkomo and another aspirant from Egypt, Mr Mustapha Elendy.
Dr Butale is a distinguished academic specialising in communication, African studies, literary studies as well as Pan Africanism with preference towards evocative depiction of the African problems as sources of authoritative knowledge in challenges of development of Africa.
Currently, he is parliamentary finance committee member, which he has chaired on numerous occasions in pursuit of financial discipline.
He is a seasoned public and media relation practitioner with years of experience in radio, television and communications.
Following his long stay at the broadcasting services department, Dr Butale left to pursue a career in public relations, serving in various organisations as public relations and strategy manager or communications specialist.
He also served as Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) - Botswana Chapter director, where he spearheaded freedom of information campaign as well as campaign for the amendment of the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority Bill.
Following a successful career at home, he joined the Freedom of Expression Institute in South Africa as an executive director where he led the civil society campaigns for the citizens' right to information in South Africa.
Dr Butale is a robust legislator with an enviable track record of adherence to good governance, transparency, accountability and broader democratic ideals.
He holds Bachelor of Arts and Master's Degree from University of Botswana and Doctoral Degree (PhD) from the University of Stellenbosch.
Source : BOPA