Parliamentarians praise results of PAP Bureau, as activity report is debated in the House

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) presented its six-month Activity Report for the period October 2018 to April 2019 in Midrand on the second day of the Ordinary Session.

The President of PAP, the Rt. Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG delivered a line-up of pursuits to a receptive audience of African Members of Parliament during its Second Ordinary Session.

Detailing the report, he thanked the Government of Rwanda for fully supporting the productive sitting of the First Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament that took place in October 2018 in the Capital Kigali. He said session that focused on the AU theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption” set the tone for adoption of numerous resolutions including the formulation of a model law on disability in Africa.

The report indicates that eleven Permanent Committees and Caucuses of the Parliament met successfully in Kigali and again in March 2019. The latter was characterized by 29 meetings of which, two; took place in Tunisia. It gives a comprehensive account of the actions of the committees and caucuses. 

One of the key issues highlighted during plenary debate, was the participation of the PAP in African Union Election Observation Missions.

Supported by the Secretariat, PAP deployed Parliamentarians to participate in several AU election observation missions in countries that include Madagascar, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, the Comoros, Benin and South Africa.

One of the challenges highlighted in the report is a decrease in the responsiveness of PAP Members to participate in such missions. The report puts forward a recommendation that MPs renew their commitment to PAP and the AUC electoral coordination units.

Several MPs have however lamented the undermining of the PAP’s legitimacy in electoral oversight by the African Union Commission (AUC). Strong submissions were made by Hon. Michael TEMPLE from Swaziland, Hon. Mohammed-Mubarak MUNTAKA among others.

“We should be courageous enough to say we won’t be participating jointly [in any electoral observation missions] until the AUC allows us to do it on our own,” proposed Hon. Muntaka.

During the period, the PAP Bureau used all opportunities available to advocate for further ratification of the Malabo Protocol. Two new ratifications were garnered since October, taking the full count to 12 countries, with another 21 signatures.

During this time, Nkodo Dang also met with authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco, where he advocated for the signing and ratification of the instrument.

The report says the Bureau intends to lead advocacy missions to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Namibia and Botswana to further rally support for the Protocol.

As the floor opened for debate, the Namibian delegation disclosed the country’s imminent adoption of the protocol.

In line with the PAP’s second strategic objective; to provide a platform for mainstreaming African voices into AU policymaking, Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang reported on the involvement of several civil society organizations during the PAP’s meeting in Kigali and during the March committee sittings.

The Draft Model Law on Disability in Africa; now in the consultation stage, has received tremendous support and contribution from the African Disability Alliance and other NGOs.

A Civil Society Dialogue that took place on 8 August 2018 in South Africa, during the side-lines of the PAP committee sittings where. The PAP, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, will convene a Civil Society Forum to be held on 11 May 2019.

MPs applauded this outreach and inclusion, calling for wider civil society participation, beyond South Africa, to expedite the ratification processes.

The PAP also made inroads in relation to various legal frameworks under its third objective to promote human rights and democracy, including instruments in support of improved continental food security, people with disabilities and the rights of persons with albinism.

Under its fourth objective to promote peace, security and stability, the PAP showed significant progress towards the sensitization of MPs on statelessness in Africa. In March, a workshop on this subject was held in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees              (UNHCR).

Several regional economic communities engaged on the role of parliamentarians in developing nationality laws to reduce or prevent statelessness.

The approved 2019 budget is USD 18,5-million, of which USD 11,7-million has been allocated to staff and Secretariat support costs.  This provided guidance the formulation of the PAP 2019-2023 Strategic Plan that wad also developed during the period in question. The Strategic Plan is due for tabling and adoption during this sitting of Parliament.

Framed against the strategic objectives of the Parliament, the level of detail of the report was well-received and lauded by many honourable members.

Hon. Prof. Geoffrey LUNGWANGWA from Zambia says while previous reports were focused on ‘cataloguing’, this report observed a strategic departure with an impressive structure that echoed the PAP’s objectives and Strategic Plan.

Hon. Prof. Morris LATIGO from Uganda commended President Nkodo Dang on the ‘comprehensiveness of the report and congratulated the Bureau for ‘the linkages between PAP various organizations and countries that continue to perceive PAP in a positive light.