Development Legal and Parliamentary Affiars

Chief Charumbira urges PAP Committees to deliberate on AfCFTA implementation

Chief Fortune Charumbira (L) officially opening the PAP Bureaux meeting

Hon Senator Chief Fortune Z. Charumira, the President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) has said the Committees of the continental law-making body must review their work plans to ensure that they include activities aimed at facilitating the accelerated implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He made the remarks today at the PAP Bureaux meeting which he said is a gathering to plan for the activities of the legislative organisation’s Committee Sittings to run from the 6th of March to the 17th of March 2023 at the Pan African Parliament precincts in Midrand, South Africa.

“This is a planning meeting. We need to agree on the issues to be discussed during the course of the Sittings of the Committees of the PAP from 6 to 17 March 2023.

“The Committee Sittings are going to be held under the African Union Theme for 2023, “The Year of AFCFTA: Acceleration of AFCFTA Implementation.” At the recently concluded AU Summit, the major concern was the slow implementation of commitments made by Member States to the actualization of the AFCFTA. The PAP thus had a pivotal role to play collectively at the continental level and as PAP Members at the national level, to ensure that Member States are held to account for the commitments they make towards the implementation of AFCFTA,” Hon Charumbira said.

However, he said before moving on to the 2023 Theme, Committees must also review what they did in the preceding year and the tangible outcome and impact of their activities in support of the 2022 Theme of the Year, “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent.

From the programme shared and deliberated on during the Bureaux meeting, it became apparent that there is a need for the Committees to pay attention to several important issues before the African Union (AU) Assembly.

A number of issues need attention on the African continent. These include the reform of the UN Security Council to rectify the historical injustice done to Africa by addressing Africa’s non-representation in the Permanent category and its gross under-representation in the Non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council.

Topical is also the imperative of a broad-based and participatory process for the development of Africa’s common position on climate change that will include women, youth, the private sector, civil society, academia and governments.

Focus during the deliberations should be given to the immediate and unconditional removal of unilateral sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Eritrea. The resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government, the expanding threat of terrorism and violent extremism across the Continent, including the influx of foreign terrorist fighters, private military companies and mercenaries, and the proliferation of armed groups and transnational organized crime are negatively impacting the peace, security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of some Member States.

President Charumbira reiterated that PAP Committees must take up the outlined issues not only to complement the African Union as the supreme continental representative Organ but also because they are critical current issues affecting the people in line with PAP’s people-centred mandate.

“Given the multiplicity of issues affecting the continent that require the intervention of the people’s elected representatives, Committees cannot afford to have a day off during the Committee sittings. Every single day, from the 6th to the 17th of March, Committees must be hard at work focusing on addressing the common challenges affecting the African citizenry and driving the attainment of Agenda 2063.

“To ensure this link with the AU’s thrust, the Bureau has invited Heads of Organs, Commissioners and various stakeholders to interact with the relevant Committees and determine how they can collaborate in driving the objectives of the Union and the hopes, ideals and aspirations of the African citizenry,

Chief Charumbira was the Guest of honour at the 17th conference of PUIC in Algiers and the 5th Arab Parliaments Conference in Cairo. He went on an official visit to Algeria and the Sahrawi Republic, paid a Courtesy call to the Speaker of the Egypt Assembly, visited was on official visits to Arusha and Qatar.

The PAP President invited the Bureauxes to review the programme shared and reiterated the call to move from activity-based programming to results-based programming in coming up with their work plans.

In her contribution, Hon Pemmy Majodina, the Chief Whip of the National African Congress in the South African Parliament who is also the Chairperson of the Southern Region Caucus of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) called on members to allocate time to discuss ways of strengthening gender and women’s empowerment legislation on the continent.

She also made a request for members who go on African Union election observation missions to report back to the Pan-African Parliament but it was pointed out that the report first goes to the AU.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende