By Staff Writers

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will be leading a big delegation to the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York next week.

Thabane will be accompanied by his wife ‘Maesaiah. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations on Tuesday.

The Lesotho delegation will also include the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Lesego Makgothi, Minister of Development Planning Tlohelang Aumane and Minister of Health Nkaku Kabi.

It will also include Government Secretary (GS) Moahloli Mphaka, Senior Private Secretary (SPS) to the Prime Minister Kabelo Lehora, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) ‘Mamonyane Bohloko, Ministry of Health PS Thebe Makoatle and “Senior Government Officials”.

thePost last week revealed that Lesotho government will send a huge entourage of 28 officials at a cost of more than M5 million to the taxpayer.

thePost said this is happening at a time when the government is so broke that it cannot pay suppliers and pensioners on time.

According to thePost, the First Lady will travel with a bodyguard, spokesperson, protocol officer and a personal aide.

She will also be accompanied by an official described as a ‘social worker’ but whose role in the team is not clear.
The inclusion of a protocol officer in her team is also peculiar because the standard practice is that only the Prime Minister and His Majesty have such services on international trips.

In sum, the First Lady will travel with five people who will be at her service.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the six principal organs of the UN, the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN.

Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions.

It has also established numerous subsidiary organs.

“The General Debate for the UNGA 74 will commence on 24th September, 2019 and the Right Honorable the Prime Minister will deliver Lesotho National Statement on Friday 27th September, 2019,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement today.

Foreign Affairs said the theme for the 74th UNGA is “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion”.

“The Right Honorable the Prime Minister and his delegation will participate in a series of high level multi-lateral meetings, among which are Climate Actuion Summit; the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; the High Level Meeting on Health Coverage; the High Level Meeting on Financing for Development and the Bloomberg Global Business Forum,” the statement added.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has elected International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor to lead a delegation to the UN general assembly to allow him to concentrate on critical issues facing the country.

In a statement, the presidency said Ramaphosa had decided to remain in South Africa to attend to the implementation of government’s urgent measures on gender-based violence, the restoration of order and stability in areas affected by public violence, and to oversee initiatives to turn around the economy.

Over the next few days and weeks, Ramaphosa will be meeting communities, civil society, and structures of government on concrete actions to address public concerns and challenges.

South African Ambassador to the UN, Jerry Matjila, said the delegation would be able to carry out responsibilities as assigned, without Ramaphosa.

“It is understandable, but this has not affected the intensity and the numerous engagements SA has been arranging for UNGA, summits, bilaterals because we should keep the pace and I think the Minister and other Ministers will be able to carry the responsibilities assigned by President Ramaphosa,” Matjila said.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma also stayed away from the summit, in 2010, to deal with internal matters of the ruling party, African National Congress (ANC).

Former President Thabo Mbeki missed the session in 2008 after acceding to a demand from the ANC that he step down as head of state. NW

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