Africa’s Parliamentary Clerks reaffirm support for New PAP Protocol
Secretary Generals and Clerks of Africa’s Parliaments have concluded their first annual general meeting by reaffirming their support for African Union (AU) member states to set up national mechanisms to speed up ratification of AU treaties and protocols, particularly the New Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Protocol.
The Secretary Generals and Clerks of Parliaments in Africa held their meeting on August 3, 2016 at the PAP in Midrand, South Africa as members of the year-old Association of Secretary-Generals of African Parliaments (ASGAP).
The ASGAP annual general meeting was held under the theme “From Adoption to Ratification of the African Union Treaties, in particular the New Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament: Gains For Africa”.
The Secretary Generals and Clerks of African Parliaments were holding their annual general meeting against the background of slow pace of ratification of the New Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament by AU member countries over two years after AU Heads of State and Government adopted the protocol.
The 23rd AU Summit of Heads of State and Government that took place in June, 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea considered and adopted a number of protocols; one of which was the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament, which gives PAP the legislative powers.
Presently, of all the 54 AU member states only 12 countries have signed the new PAP Protocol and only two states, Sierra Leone and Mali, have ratified the protocol as well as made the required deposits with the AU.
The ASGAP members therefore recommended the development and adoption by all AU member states; a Model Law on Ratification and Domestication of AU treaties, particularly the New Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament.
The association also proposed that the PAP must ensure that its national focal points in all African countries were strengthened in order to promote PAP’s visibility in AU member states but also provide necessary advocacy efforts for ratification of the New Protocol of the Pan African Parliament.
The Secretary Generals and Clerks of Parliament called for regular interaction and communication between PAP and national parliaments in order to promote action and advocacy work that national parliaments were expected to undertake.
The ASGAP meeting was graced with the presence of the First Vice President of the PAP, Honourable Eduardo Joaquim Mulembwe, who expressed grave concern over very slow ratification of PAP’s new protocol by African states two years after AU leaders adopted the protocol.
During the annual general meeting ASGAP members elected their new executive committee and were also taken through presentations that focussed on ratification of AU treaties and the PAP protocol with special emphasis on best practices and progress on parliamentary action and advocacy; trends, challenges and opportunities for Africa; and allaying fears and amplifying potential gains for Africa.