October Ordinary Session opens in Midrand 

 

The 3rd Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) kicked off today at the Parliament headquarters in Midrand, South Africa. The October statutory meeting is being held under the African Union (AU) theme of 2019: “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.’’

In his opening remarks, the Rt.Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG, President of the PAP, called on Africans to unite and tolerate one another in order for the continent to grow and progress in the right direction.

“I understand that there are challenges which we are facing as Africans. Those challenges are affecting all of us, but if we are to unite and tolerate one another we will prosper. We are also facing strong hate amongst one another as Africans, this must stop. We need one another to defeat all forms of hate and issues stemming out of it. Africans fighting other Africans should be condemned and eradicated permanently,” says the Rt.Hon. Nkodo DANG.

The Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony, the Rt. Hon. Jeanine MABUNDA LIOKO, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo said the AU theme for 2019 resonates with the aspirations of all African people. “Armed conflict, poverty and unemployment are major reasons for people to be displaced and I am here to express solidarity with Africans who are affected by these challenges. The AU theme speaks to the issue of displaced citizens and my hope is that receiving countries will ensure greater protection for this vulnerable group of our people,” the Rt. Hon. MABUNDA LIOKO.

Former PAP Member of Parliament from Mali, Hon. Soumaila CISSE, in his solidarity address commended PAP for strides made with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and urged the continental body to also ensure the free movement of persons.

“My hope is that this Parliament becomes stronger and we hear more of the PAP’s voice. I am particularly excited with developments concerning AfCFTA, but we should not only ensure free movement of goods but also of people. Goods moving need to be sometimes accompanied by people hence we need to consider the human dimension to this matter,” said Hon. CISSE.

In addition, the Azerbaijan Ambassador to African Union H.E Elman Abdullayev has commended the PAP for championing the cause of the African people.

In his solidarity message to the PAP on the occasion of the opening ceremony H.E ABDULLAYEV extolled: “The PAP is increasingly becoming visible and vocal on issues that affect the continent and this is a positive move. The Azerbaijen relationship with Africa is not new and dates back to the 1970s. My country has also played host to thousands of African students undertaking studies and when they go back to their home countries, they serve their people with dignity.”

A further message of solidarity was delivered by Ambassador of Japan to the AU H.E Mr. Fumio SHIMIZU who pledged his country’s continued support to the PAP while also hailing the AfCFTA as a historic milestone. He added: “Japan and Africa have enjoyed a friendly relationship for a long time and we are working to further strengthen this engagement and this has begun with the establishment of a mission specifically dedicated to the AU. We pledge to continue advancing Africa’s development.”

More than forty five (45) African parliamentarians were also sworn as members PAP at the opening of this Session at the parliament’s seat in Midrand, South Africa on Monday. The 3rd Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament will close on 18 October 2019 with AfCFTA; status of peace and security on the continent; and Model Law on Disability to take centre stage.