AU Governance retreat opens at the Pan-African Parliament

The African Union Commission (AUC) and AU Organs with a human rights and governance mandate namely the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AFCHPR) and the Anti-Corruption Board (AU ABC) are convening at PAP’s seat in Midrand (South Africa) for a retreat aimed at formulating a workable solution to address the Governance challenges.

Taking place from 18 – 21 February 2019, the workshop was organized following a performance audit of all AU organs with a human rights and governance mandate by the Board of External Auditors as well as the Office of Internal Audit, which revealed challenges in governance and oversight arrangements. Specifically, the audit findings indicated issues related to reporting lines, human resources, and financial management of the Organs by the Commission.

In his welcome remarks, Hon. Stephen Julius MASELE, First-Vice President of the PAP, emphasized the need for thorough consultations which will enable AU organs to deliver on the mandate of the African Union.” One critical aspect that we need to focus on is the relationship between organs as it is important in the manner in which we achieve objectives set out in the founding documents of our Union. These consultations should result in a workable solution on how organs interact and how this feed into the Agenda 2063. On behalf of the PAP President, I wish this retreat fruitful deliberations.”

As per performance audit report, the Bureau of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission has taken the lead in convening this governance workshop.” This retreat will afford us the opportunity for a candid conversation on how to resolve governance issues pertaining to organs. This is the only way we are going to address the challenge we face as AU Organs. It is the wish of the AUC Chairperson that these governance difficulties are given the attention they deserve,” says Mr. Alex Tordeta RATEBAYE, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the AUC Chairperson.

Representing the Office of the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, Prof. Mekonen HADDIS described the retreat as the platform to finally provide clarity on roles and responsibility of each organ. He says:” I hope this will retreat with the adoption of a framework which will empower all organs with a clearer perspective on its role within the AU architecture. This will only be achieved through an open and frank engagement.”

Mrs. Lindiwe KHUMALO, Technical Advisor, Policy Coherence at the AUC, reminded that this workshop is in line with the AU institutional reforms led by President Kagame which seek to render organs more effective and fit for purpose.

“The objective of this retreat is to develop a Governance Framework; and Schemes for delegated authority between the AUC Chairperson, the Heads of Organs, Heads of Secretariats and Heads of Finance and Administration in Organs in order to resolve ambiguities and governance conflicts.”

The program of this workshop is directed by Mr. Yusupha JOBE, Acting Clerk of the PAP.

AU’s newest organ, the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is also participating in the retreat to adapt to the outcomes, in line with the Assembly Decision for APRM to incorporate and align with AU Rules and Regulations. The NEPAD Implementing Agency (NPCA), is also taking part in the program as a resource organization.