Pan-African Parliament calls on African ambassadors to accelerate the ratification of its legislative power
Johannesburg, South Africa – The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held a preliminary briefing with African ambassadors in Midrand today, setting the stage for its Second Ordinary Session.
An important focus of the second session, taking place from 29 April to 13 May 2016, will be the ratification of the Parliament’s revised protocol to become a legislative body.
In June 2014, the PAP received the mandate to develop model laws, changing its role from an oversight and advisory function to that of having legislative power. For this to become effective, the revised protocol requires ratification by 28 African Union member states.
To date only two countries, Mali and Sierra Leone, have ratified the protocol, hampering the progress of the PAP’s mandate to harmonise African Union legal instruments across the continent.
During an Ambassadors’ Briefing, President of the PAP, Roger Nkodo Dang, made an urgent call to all African ambassadors to accelerate the ratification of the protocol in their respective member states.
Hon President Dang said it is unacceptable that the PAP has been in existence for 12 years, has not been able to achieve its goal to become the continent’s legislative body, and that regional parliamentarian bodies such as EALA and ECOWAS have more power.
“The PAP’s role in the architecture of the African Union is important to achieve peace, security and economic growth on the continent,” said Hon Nkodo Dang. “We have therefore requested the PAP’s Members of Parliament and Speakers of National Parliaments to become champions in their respective countries and speak to the relevant Ministries to ratify the Protocol”.
Responding to the President’s plea, Honorary Ambassador Bene M’Poko, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corp, said it is vital for ambassadors to work closely with the PAP so that it can achieve this vision.
Hon M’Poko reiterated that it is important for the assembly to make the necessary institutional arrangements to support the efforts of the PAP.
He called on ambassadors to establish commissions or committees to share the task of convincing member states to endow the PAP with legislative authority. The attendance of annual parliamentary sittings will not suffice in achieving this goal and ambassadors have to convene more often, and tap into the capacity and skills sets of the diplomatic corp., he said.
“We as ambassadors stand ready to support the Pan African Parliament so that one day you can become a fully-fledged parliament with legislative powers,” Hon. M’Poko concluded.
Since the adoption of the revised protocol in June 2014, the PAP Bureau has embarked on an advocacy programme amongst various foreign affairs ministries and heads of states in countries such as Algeria, Chad, the DRC, Egypt, The Gambia and Kenya, amongst others, to ensure it achieves ratification.
Several countries have commenced with the national processes to ratify the protocol including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mauritania, whereas countries such as Ghana, Cameroon, Congo and Chad have signed, but still has to ratify.