Pan-African Parliament to make resolution that demands transparent elections and democracy in Africa!

 

Without trepidation, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has embarked on building vibrant and inclusive democracies in Africa!

This became evident at a working session chaired by Rule’s Committee Chairperson Hon. Vinita Kalyan SANTOSH meant to unpack the danger of undemocratic revolutions that are counter-revolutionary to democracy and peace in the continent.

70 participants drawn from leading opposition and ruling parties from across Africa had joined PAP parliamentarians serving in Permanent Committees of Justice and Human Rights; Rules, Privileges and Discipline as well as Cooperation, International Relations and Conflicts Resolution from 7 to 8 March 2019, during the Permanent Committee Sittings of the fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

Supported by the Open Society Foundation and Africa Regional Office, (AfRO) a frank dialogue with ruling and opposition parties on the subject of ‘electoral democracy’ in Africa interrogated challenges not limited to democracy and corruption, democracy and identity, democracy and justice, violence, intolerance and exclusion, informal power versus formal power, uinformed citizenry and democracy.

Parliamentarians agreed that leaders must adhere to the principles and laws on democracy. PAP MPs spoke in one voice that the African Union (AU) must demand adherence by member states, and that adherence must become a protocol of the AU. 

Legislators, together with representatives of Political Parties agreed that the electoral reform and democracy in Africa are important and should be reviewed carefully going forward.

Job OGONDA of the Open Society Foundation (OSF) emphasized that the AU ought to observe elections and take note of what is missing to infer honest recommendations and feedback to member states. “Political parties should participate fully in the political system and ensure that they, themselves have regular elections,” he added.

A proposal that the AU observer missions should come up with a new strategy for election observation was hailed by the MPs who also agreed that the May 2019 Plenary Session must interrogate the role of the judiciary as an electorate body; given the roles of the supreme court in determining results after contestation.

Ogonda said having PAP noted that there has been an evolution in elections in Africa, the measures adopted by the AU to put an end to Coup d'état’s and violent actions to gain power, need to be applied in a manner that will ensure that leaders don’t stay in power for more than two terms.

Hon. Martin NITERETSE from the Rules Committee acknowledged that many African countries experience changes and amendments of their constitutions, spearheaded by political parties that plan to stay in power. “Parliament should be strong enough to reject processes of elongation of terms or tenure of office that are in most cases, unjustified,” he submitted

On the other hand, Patricia NYAUNDI, a researcher from Kenya said in many cases in Africa, politicians have been accused of encouraging their supporters to incite violence against those of their rivals.

Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflicts Resolution Hon.  Kone Aboubacar SIDIKI said the recommendations from the forum would be presented back to respective political parties to consider for adoption at party decision-making level and point the right way to make democracy in respective countries more inclusive and just.

PAP has been instrumental in the development and ratification of the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; which aims to ensure human rights, democratic governance and legitimate elections in Africa.