PAP MP's Discuss Key Activities During PAP Session
4 May 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa – The Chamber of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) was rife with commentary when 29 African members of parliament (MP’s) took the floor to respond to the fourth Parliament’s activities over the past six months.
In plenary today, President of the PAP, Roger Nkodo Dang, recapitulated the Institution’s key activities since its First Ordinary Session in October 2015.
Summarising the Parliament’s first sitting, President Nkodo Dang referenced topics such as the “Electricity for All in Africa” project, an exposé on the African position on climate change at COP21 and a report on a proposed continental free-trade zone for Africa.
Energy and climate change were central themes during the six months’ activities.
In a lead up to COP21, the Pan African Parliament participated in the 2nd Summit of African Parliamentarians on climate policy in Kenya in November 2015. With the theme, Towards a Common Position on Climate Justice and Equity in the New Universal Agreement on Climate Change, the summit aimed to develop a common African agenda for COP21 and cover the role that parliamentarians can play in the negotiations.
On invitation of Mr. Jean-Louis Borloo, President of Energies for Africa, a delegation of Pan African Parliamentarians visited Paris in November 2015.
The mission aimed to sensitise the French Government on the need to electrify Africa. Led by President Nkodo Dang and a delegation of 20 parliamentarians, the session enabled the French government to include the need to electrify Africa amongst the objectives of COP21.
In December 2015, PAP attended COP21 in Paris as observer, with great results. To increase visibility, the Parliament participated in several parallel conferences and debates, and granted interviews to television channels such as Africa 24, France 24, Togolese, Senegalese and Malian television stations.
“The agreement signed at the end of COP21, featured a clause relating to the electrification of Africa, which sufficiently demonstrates the relevance and impact of the trip of the delegation of the Pan-African Parliament to Paris,” said President Nkodo Dang.
The presidential report further reflected on several important missions, including, but not limited to the World Summit on the Partnership for an Open Government (POG) and the 2015 Women’s Parliamentarian Conference.
The PAP’s fourth Vice President Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai participated in the 4th High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Kigali, Rwanda. Held in December 2015, the dialogue, convening representatives of the African Union Commission, provided a frank but inclusive space for delegates to reflect and account on the impact of their work towards consolidating democracy and strengthening good governance in Africa.
In January 2016, a PAP delegation attended the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa. This was a significant event, where President Nkodo Dang seized the opportunity to lobby for the ratification of the Malabo Protocol.
At regional level, the PAP, in collaboration with the Department for Political Affairs of the African Union, consulted with regional parliaments for the promotion of constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa, during a session that took place in Midrand, South Africa in November 2015. The PAP committees and regional caucuses met from 29 February to 3 March 2016 to discuss issues of concern, also at the PAP’s headquarters in Midrand.
President Nkodo Dang concluded his opening with an abridged sense of administrative matters at the PAP, including financial and human resources, the host country agreement with the Republic of South Africa and matters related to media and communication.
Participating members congratulated the Bureau for both the quality of the report and the work that originated from the fourth Parliament, but also raised points of contention to navigate the way forward.
“I join my voice to congratulate the President and the executives of our Parliament for the work they have been able to do within a limited space of time,” said Hon. Joseph Mbah-Ndam from Cameroon.
“In a short period there has been remarkable positive change,” reiterated Hon. Fidel Rwigamba from Rwanda. Hon. Nourenou Atchade from Benin echoed these sentiments saying that the President is leading the assembly to change, and that members are witnessing a ‘new beginning at the PAP’.
A further vote of confidence came from Hon. Aissatou Sow Diawara from Senegal, who commended the President for his ‘untiring efforts to honour his undertakings and make the parliament a high-level institution’. She lauded the Bureau and its committees for ‘excellent work’.
Hon. Zalikatou Diallo from Guinea-Conakry said the PAP is witnessing a ‘new dynamism’, not previously visible within the Institution.
In the spirit of democracy, the 29 speakers also raised challenges, concerns and provided critique on the PAP’s progress.
Remaining a point of discussion amongst parliamentarians is the PAP’s financial position and its strive for financial autonomy. The speakers also commented on recruitment, election observation missions, health insurance and other administrative inquiries.
The topic that continues to linger in plenary and committee rooms is the acceleration of PAP’s legislative power. President Nkodo Dang’s activity report admits to slow progress of the ratification of the Malabo Protocol, as the consultative role of the Parliament limits the execution of its mandate. However, he says the Parliament continuous to advocate vigorously amongst Foreign Affair Ministries and African Heads of State to achieve legislative authority.
A powerful message from hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira from Zimbawe was that the Pan African Parliament could only play a role to represent Africa’s population of one billion people if it receives the legal status to legislate resolutions and recommendations.
The session concluded with the adoption of the activity report by the PAP’s 54 Member States.