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Sunday, July 8, 2018



Following the recommendation of The Committee of Fifteen Ministers of Finance, the African Union (AU) has placed on hold, the release of the 2019 budget of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) pending the completion of an independent audit exercise that has been ordered.

The AU will also undertake a review of the organizational structure of PAP and institute an independent audit of its staff establishment.

These decisions were taken at the just concluded 31st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU which took place between June 28 and July 2, 2018 in Mauritania.

PAP President Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang
Addressing a news conference on the outcome of the AU Summit, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisuli articulated the three important decisions as, first the approval for an independent audit of the Parliament; secondly requesting the PAP President not to fire or suspend any staff until conclusion of the audit and vesting the power to fire any PAP staff in the AU Chairperson and thirdly, holding back PAP 2019 budget until the audit is completed.

Sisuli explained that “President of the Pan African Parliament should understand that while the audit continues, he has no authority to suspend or fire staff in the PAP because we will need these people until the audit is over. The power to hire or fire has now been lodged with the Chairperson of the AU”.

The Minister  stated that the 2019 PAP Budget would be released upon the successful conclusion of the audit if the Parliament is cleared. But if  problems were found, then the AU will need to sit down with PAP and make sure that the problems are sorted out before the budget is released.

Continuing, Sisuli stated that should the audit not be completed by November 15, 2018, “the essential budget items have been ring-fenced to ensure that the activities of PAP are not disrupted”.

PAP had at the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Fourth parliament, approved the report of its Permanent Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs on the PAP Proposed Budget for the Financial Year 2019 which proposed a total budget of $26,868,831.

The independent audit became necessary following allegations of financial impropriety by some parliamentarians especially from Southern Africa Regional Caucus. The timing of these allegations coming at the time PAP President Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang had declared interest in seeking re-election makes it appear politically motivated. For example, Sisuli in her briefing, stated that PAP parliamentarians from South Africa have been extremely vocal about their reservations on how PAP is run.

Dang has just won re-election to a second term on May 10, 2018 to the consternation of the Southern African Regional Caucus which contended that Dang should not have presented himself for re-election, relying on a proposed amendment to PAP’s Rules of Procedure which has not been formally adopted by the Parliament.

Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira who was the candidate of the Southern Africa Regional Caucus, had prior to the May 10 election, argued that “since the Eastern, Central and Western Africa Regions have had their chance at the PAP Presidency with Central Africa having had a second bite, albeit an infringement of the values and rotation principles of the AU, it is now the turn of the Southern Africa Region”

PAP Southern Regional Caucus had on October 9, 2017, resolved to elect a Presidential candidate for the May 2018 PAP election “in respect and fulfillment  of the rotation principle” as a result of which Hon. Chief Charumbira was chosen.  The choice was also endorsed by the SADC Council of Ministers.

Lindiwe Sisuli, South African Foreign Minister
Dang comes from Cameroon in Central Africa Region which had produced Hon. Dr. Idriss Ndele Moussa, PAP’s second elected president from 2009 to 2012. The Southern Africa was particularly irked that Dang seeking re-election implied that the Central Africa Region would be taking a third term as PAP President while the Southern Region is yet to get one.

In presenting himself for re-election in May 2018, Hon. Dang stated that he is a candidate of “experience and continuity”, having previously served as First Vice President (2012 to 2015) before his initial election to his first term in May, 2015 as PAP President. He secured 133 votes out of the total of 244 votes cast for the election held on May 10, 2018, well above the 113 votes needed to win. His closest rival and candidate of the Southern African Regional Caucus Hon. Charumbira secured 47 votes while Hon. Mustapha secured 44 votes.

Could the Southern African Caucus be hoping that the audit will turn up some damaging information that could be used as the basis to seek Dang’s impeachment? Only time will tell.

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