Published: Sunday, 07 March 2021

PAP leadership structures head to Midrand for the revision of the Rules of Procedure

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Permanent Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline (Rules Committee), Chairpersons of Regional Caucuses and Permanent Committees, Members of the Bureau as well as the PAP Secretariat are set to convene at the Parliament’s Headquarters in Midrand, South Africa from 8 to 12 March 2021 as part of technical and political activities aimed at the revision of the Rules of Procedure of the legislative arm of the African Union (AU).

The five-day meeting is aimed at defining the substantive and procedural direction for an effective and fruitful revision of the Rules of Procedure of the PAP; and enable the Rules Committee and the PAP Bureau and Bureaux to review and determine the gaps and areas of concern in the current Rules of Procedure.

 The review process stems from recent institutional developments at the AU level as well as recent resolutions in PAP Plenary calling for amendment of specific provisions of the Rules and decisions of the AU policy organs. The revision of the PAP Rules is also triggered by the necessity to ensure the continuity of parliamentary activities, through provision of sufficient guidance to virtual or hybrid meetings which are set to become the ‘new normal’.

Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, Acting President of the PAP, says that the process is long overdue as Rules of Procedure must be periodically reviewed to ensure their suitability, currency, relevancy and effectiveness. PAP’s Acting President also notes that the upcoming meeting of the Rules Committee in consultations with the Bureaux will lay solid grounds for the entire process culminating into the revision of the Rules of Procedure.

“In March 2020, the Rules Committee had already reached a consensus to table a Resolution at the May Ordinary Session of the PAP, in order to obtain legal authority to proceed with the revision of the PAP Rules. However, we were not able to hold an ordinary session due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The upcoming consultations will therefore enable all relevant stakeholders to reflect and agree on the substantive aspects and procedural steps for the review of the PAP Rules. We anticipate that the meeting will result in an approved and realistic roadmap for the revision of the Rules of Procedure,” says Hon. Charumbira.

Speaking on the programme of the meeting, Mr. Vipya Harawa, Clerk of Parliament, says that the engagement will focus on guidelines on virtual meetings and roadmap on the revision of the PAP Rules of Procedure. Mr. Harawa adds that the meeting will provide an opportunity for a review of PAP 2020 achievements and consideration of the 2021 institutional workplan and programme of activities.

“A revision of Rules and Procedure is a process and this inaugural meeting will set the stage for the adoption of a draft Resolution to be tabled in the next Plenary, which gives legal authority and formally triggers the process of revision of the Rules of Procedure. Also, having announced the Secretariat’s readiness to host virtual statutory meetings of the PAP last month, in line with directives of the AU leadership, leadership structures of the PAP will consider proposed guidelines on virtual meetings,” says Mr. Harawa.

Initially adopted on 21 September 2004, the PAP Rules were amended on 10 October 2011 to ensure more effective execution of the mandate of the PAP, and to adjust to the prevailing political and institutional exigencies. The meeting on the revision of the Rules of Procedure by the Rules Committee, Chairpersons of Regional Caucuses and Permanent Committees and members of the Bureau, is therefore expected to ensure the alignment of PAP Rules with the PAP Protocol and relevant decisions of the AU as well as Plenary resolutions.