The impact of COVID-19 and the role of Parliaments in responding to national disasters

Parliament Building PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Parliament Building PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

It is a great honour and privilege to address the Parliamentary Clerks of SADC Parliaments on a matter of grave importance: the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the role of Parliaments in responding to national disasters.

History teaches that humanity has always been plagued by disasters and Covid-19 is most certainly not the last. It is therefore important to reflect on the role of Parliaments in responding to disasters using COVID-19 merely as a spring board, for present purposes.

In my considered view the duty of Parliamentary Clerks is to assist Parliament, its officers and members, to fulfill their constitutional and representative functions by rendering non-partisan, enlightened and authoritative procedural advice and guidance. If this departure point is true then it behooves the Clerks to understand the broad impact of COVID-19 on our societies and the role of Parliaments in responding to national disasters. As we all know Parliaments’ primary constitutional duty is to pass laws. It is for this reason that my presentation will focus on the legislative function in responding to disasters by giving a broad synopsis of what ought to be done.

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