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Pan-African Parliament’s rejuvenation on a vibrant trajectory

Delegates to the Committee Sittings of the Pan African Parliament

The rapid turnaround and rejuvenation of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) have been largely described as vibrant by a number of people in high-standing positions on the continent ever since the inauguration of the legislative body’s Sixth Parliament.

This was revealed by Hon Senator Fortune Z. Charumbira, during the official opening of the Siitting of the PAP Committees in Midrand, South Africa, today.

Chief Charumbira reminded delegates that at the commencement of the Sixth Parliament of the PAP on 29th June 2022, public perception of the Pan African Parliament and the entire African Union architecture was negative and unflattering.

In an article posted on the website on 2nd August 2022, journalist Francois Soudan said, “When Africans are asked about the usefulness of the AU, the judgement is still harsh. Many see it as an ineffective organisation, which has not solved any of the problems for which it was created and whose objective is to outlast them.” Zeroing in on the Pan African Parliament, he contends that “the public has a very low opinion of the PAP which is supposed to represent the AU’s consultative assembly.” The AUC Chairperson himself, His Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in his opening address at the June elective session averred that “The Pan African Parliament is performing below expectations.”

“Against this background, I am pleased to report that the feedback we have been receiving about the PAP over the past eight months or so has been highly complementary. Speaking at the official opening of the PAP-PRC Retreat on 19 December 2022, the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation of the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Dr. Naledi Pandor, acknowledged the excellent work that has been done by the Pan African Parliament since June 2022 and declared that, “there is no one who can sway my belief that the Bureau has made extensive efforts to bring back the Pan African Parliament to what it should be.”

“In the same vein, during the 45th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) held in January 2023, Ambassadors roundly acknowledged the rapid turnaround of the PAP and credited us with a “vibrancy” that had not been seen at the PAP in a long time. This huge vote of confidence from a previously hostile constituency is a reflection of the strides we have made in our transformative agenda. We must, therefore, applaud ourselves for this changing public perception which confirms that we have gone some way in “Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning and Reinvigorating the Pan African Parliament” in line with our avowed strategic thrust,” Hon Charumbira said.

The Guest-of-Honour during the official opening, the Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Candith Mashego-Dhlamini, representing His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the holding of the PAP Committees Sitting under the AU 2023 theme of the year is a clear demonstration of the PAP’s resolve and commitment to work towards the realisation of this significant AU and strategic policy framework.

She emphasised the PAP’s oversight role’s importance in the pursuit of fostering economic growth and prosperity in Africa as it remains an integral part of the realization of “Africa We Want” as a pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress, and collective prosperity.

“The work of the Parliament is indeed central to influence the continental policy formulation, ranging from statelessness, migration and labour migration governance, place of traditional medicine in African health systems, and renewable energy and carbon trading.

“The PAP as a legislative organ of the AU is currently not entrusted with legislative powers and in order to strengthen its mandate as envisaged in the 2014 Malabo Protocol to have legislative powers, the ratification of the protocol by the AU Member States to enter into force should be overemphasised,” Hon Mashego-Dhlamini said.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende