Published: Wednesday, 10 March 2021

PAP members consult on way forward as meeting on Revision of Rules gets underway

The meetings on the revision of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Rules of Procedure and the Joint Bureau and Bureaux of Committees and Caucuses have kicked off at the seat of the continental Parliament in Midrand, South Africa. Running from the 8th-12th of March.

These meetings are chaired by the Acting President, Honourable Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira, and attended by the Permanent Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline (Rules Committee), Chairpersons of Regional Caucuses and Permanent Committees as well as the PAP Secretariat.

The ongoing sittings were organised to define 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 Bureaux to review and determine the gaps and areas of concern in the current Rules of Procedure.

Moreover, the Draft 2021 Institutional Work plan was presented. The PAP 2021 Approved Programme and operational Budget was equally discussed. In addition, issue relating to ICT and general readiness to support PAP virtual sittings was tabled.

 The gathering is also meant to take stock of the current situation facing the PAP underpinned by a period of reduced in-person meetings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; vacancies in various leadership levels of the Parliament; and a way forward on how to conduct business of the legislative arm of the African Union ahead of the next Plenary session planned for May 2021.

In his opening remarks, Acting President of the PAP, Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, described the first in-person meeting of members of the PAP since March 2020 as critical for the future of the Parliament and its relevance within the African Union architecture.

“We have a responsibility towards all members of Parliament and the African citizens to come up with tangible solutions on how our Parliament can be fully operational as we head into the next elective Plenary Session in May. We face a myriad of challenges and our consultations over the next few days ought to be productive and provide answers on a roadmap on Rules of Procedure, swearing-in of new members, guidelines on virtual meetings, the Draft 2021 Institutional Work plan ,the PAP 2021 Approved Programme and operational Budget and the issue relating to ICT and general readiness to support PAP virtual sittings, mechanism of allowances in the context of the new normal among other organisational issues,” said Hon. Charumbira.

Hon. Chief Charumbira called on the leadership structures to engage in a candid and open conversation on how the PAP can effectively optimize its operations in the context of COVID-19.

As part of the opening meeting, regional caucuses were accorded an opportunity to present their concerns and expectations from the ongoing consultations.

Meanwhile, the PAP Committee on Rules, Privileges met on the margins of the opening day to engage on guidelines for virtual meetings as a way forward of preventing the PAP from incapacitation as a result of the pandemic Covid-19 which led to reduced activities last year. The Rules Committee has been tasked with ensuring preparedness and alignment with Rules of Procedure. This has become a major focus of the meeting which was initially meant for a general review of PAP Rules of Procedure.

Committee Chairperson, Hon. Adv. Djibril War highlighted a need to be vigilant when it comes to utilising technology.

Deliberations are expected to continue until the end of the week before the adoption of a final position.