THANDISIZWE MGUDLWA l Friday, August 26, 2022
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Fortune Charumbira, Pan-African Parliament (PAP) President, this week gave a scorecard of his Bureau since their inauguration in June 2022.
Addressing the Strategic Reorientation Workshop for the Permanent Committees of the sixth Parliament in Midrand, South Africa which was convened under the African Union theme of 2022, “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development”, Charumbira noted that the Bureau is committed to restore the battered image of the parliament following the incidents of May 31 and June 01, 2021, that led to the suspension of parliamentary activities.
“The Bureau has actualised the confirmatory statement you made in support of the principle of rotational leadership by ensuring that it is cascaded throughout all the structures of the PAP. For the first time in the history of our institution, each Region now chairs at least two Committees, deputises in at least two Committees and has at least two Rapporteurs. “In so doing, your Bureau has underlined its commitment to the abiding values of fairness, equity and justice within the PAP by ensuring that no Region exercises undue dominance over the other.
Rest assured that your Bureau intends to follow the same procedure in the recruitment of staff to vacant positions in order to guarantee that the cosmopolitan nature of our continent is reflected even in the staff complement at the institution. It is my hope that when the advertisements for vacant posts are flighted, Hon. Members will encourage qualified prospective employees from their various countries to apply for these positions.”
Charumbira further highlighted the need for enhanced cooperation between Regional Economic Communities in Africa and their Parliamentary fora. “As PAP, we recommit to strengthen regional parliamentary cooperation and relationships. This is in recognition of the fact that collaborative and mutual engagements of PAP and regional bodies embody the best hope for regional integration which is integral to the actualization of the foundational objectives of PAP,” he said.
The Bureau has also embarked on a successful mission to re-engage the Executive Council of the African Union and the African Union Commission at the African Union 4th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.
At that meeting, the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat presented the Report on the PAP Elections and subsequently introduced the Bureau to the Executive Council. Moreover, PAP equally presented its vision and challenges it faces particularly the budgetary constraints occasioned by austerity measures which had been instituted during its prolonged enforced hiatus.
“The Executive Council and AU Commissioners roundly supported our request for a Supplementary Budget to support Committee activities, fact-finding missions, Bureau activities and plenary sessions, among others. In that regard, we submitted a Supplementary Budget of slightly over USD 5 million to allow our full return to operational functionality. I am pleased to report that the request for a supplementary budget has since been approved with the proviso that it Financial Rules.”
Charumbira also highlighted on the improved relations of PAP with other organisations. “It is gratifying to note that there is a rekindled spirit and interest to embrace PAP’s agenda with an overwhelming expression of support for PAP’s institutional programmes. Since then, there has been an unprecedented number of Ambassadors and national Parliaments expressing support for the Bureau, requesting courtesy calls and/or inviting the Bureau and the PAP to participate in various parliamentary activities,” he said.
Charumbira went on to highlight the commitment to mainstream gender issues and ensure that affirmative guidelines on gender equity and inclusiveness are prioritized. And on July 31, 2022, the Pan-African Parliament celebrated the Pan-African Women’s Day, led by the third Vice President, Lucia Maria Mendes Goncalves dos Passos, at the National Assembly of Cabo Verde.
“At this engagement which brought together parliamentarians, government officials, civil society organisations, members of the diplomatic corps and immigrant communities, the Vice President reiterated that the focus of the PAP will be to ensure that financial inclusion of women is prioritized and regarded as a pathway to sustainable development. I throw down the gauntlet to the Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability to ensure that this aspiration is realised for the greater good of all disenfranchised and disadvantaged women on the continent.”
Furthermore, to reposition the PAP within the African Union (AU)governance architecture, the Bureau has also taken initiatives towards forging lasting relationship with Organs and agencies of the Union.
“We must address issues around the framework for collaboration, including but not limited to, election observation missions (EOMs),Fact-finding missions, the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and the role of the PAP in the ratification of AU Legal Instruments. As a result of these engagements, I am pleased to report to you that PAP Parliamentarians have now been re-engaged in Election Observer Missions.
To that end, our MPs participated in the EOM to Kenya and are currently among the team of observers to the elections in Angola. We have also agreed on the development of a work plan and roadmap for the implementation of collaborative initiatives and transversal activities. We look forward to mutually beneficial co-operation with all AU Organs into the future,” Charumbira added.
Accordingly, PAP is scheduled to convene a Strategic Retreat with the African Union Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) in September 2022.
“Hon. Members will agree with me that over the years the PAP’s relationship with the AU has significantly deteriorated to a point where serious questions and concerns were raised relating to the image of PAP, the lack of respect for AU decisions, the failure to adhere to institutional regulations, and what they perceived as the absence of viable results to underscore the PAP’s legislative mandate.
The PAP-PRC Retreat will thus provide a platform for the PAP to outline the challenges it has been facing in fulfilling its mandate and, hopefully, elicit the full support of the PRC in resolving these challenges,” Charumbira further observed.