Matters Arising From The Pan African Parliament’s Postponed 2018 Annual Conference Of Speakers Of Africa’s National Parliaments - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Matters Arising From The Pan African Parliament’s Postponed 2018 Annual Conference Of Speakers Of Africa’s National Parliaments

Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang, PAP President


The 2018 Annual Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments scheduled for August 9 – 10, 2018 has been postponed till next year.

In a letter to the Speakers of African National Parliaments, President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), H. E. Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang explained that the postponement was due to budgetary constraints.

Historical perspectives
The Annual Conference of Speakers was instituted by the second President of PAP, Late Hon. Dr. Idriss Moussa in 2010 and has since then been hosted annually by successive PAP Presidents except for the 2018 conference which is now postponed.

Late Hon. Dr. Idriss Moussa, PAP President 2009 to 2012.
Instituted the Annual  Conference of Speakers 
The Conference has been able to record some achievements especially in getting the National Parliaments to address some of the challenges facing both the PAP parliamentarians and the Bureau.

Under the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan African Parliament (The Constitutive Act), the allowances of PAP Parliamentarians are paid by the respective State Parties. This had in the past, affected attendance of some parliamentarians to PAP plenary and other activities. The Annual Conference of Speakers provided the forum for PAP to get the national parliaments to commit to ensuring proper funding of their respective delegations to PAP as well as ensuring attendance to PAP plenary.

Additionally, the Constitutive Act requires that the representation of each State Party must reflect the diversity of political opinions in each National Parliament. The Annual Conference became a platform for ensuring that all PAP parliamentarians, including those from opposition political parties are equally sponsored.

It is also noteworthy that the Speakers of National Parliaments were instrumental in getting the AU Assembly of Heads of State to approve the Revised PAP Protocol in 2014 in Malabo (Malabo Protocol). For example, the Speakers facilitated advocacy visits to their various heads of state to canvass for the adoption of the revised Protocol.

Having secured the adoption of the Heads of State of the A.U., the protocol must be ratified before coming into force. Unfortunately, only about five countries have so far ratified this very important Protocol that vests PAP with the power to perform legislative functions in the continent. 28 ratifications are required for it to come into force.

Hon. Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi, PAP President 2012 to 2015
Hon. Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi during whose tenure as President of the Third Parliament of PAP, the Malabo Protocol was adopted, believes that the ratification of the Protocol is very critical to the institutional growth of PAP as a continental parliamentary body.

When ratified, the Malabo Protocol will address some of the institutional challenges faced by PAP including the political issues that led to the budgetary constraints which necessitated the postponement of the 2018 Speakers Conference. 

 2017 Speaker’s conference
In the 2017 conference, the Speakers took stock of the ratification, domestication and implementation of other critical legal instruments and AU Treaties that would advance the African agenda particularly relating to youth empowerment.

In his remarks, PAP President Nkodo Dang, observed that AU legal instruments remain inaccessible to Members of Parliament (MPs) as the adopted protocols are not routinely channeled directly to each National Parliament for ratifications.

Hon. Dang reasoned that if the adopted protocols were channeled directly to the National Parliaments, they could include them as part of governmental oversight and put questions to the relevant Ministers. He observed that the documents do not get past the ministries of foreign affairs and then suggested that PAP should play a critical role in ensuring that these AU instruments are channeled to the National Parliaments for ratification.

Postponed opportunity
The 2017 Conference committed to advocate for and strengthen the establishment of focal points within the ministries of foreign affairs who would be tasked with fast-tracking the process of ratification of AU legal instruments.

Secondly, the Speakers undertook to take the necessary steps to expedite and finalize by December 2017, the signing and ratification of the Malabo Protocol.

Thirdly, the Speakers committed to discuss the ratification of the Malabo Protocol within their national parliaments and also to urge their various Ministries of International Relations and Foreign Affairs to brief them on measures taken to ensure ratification of the Malabo Protocol.

Hon Gertrude Mongella, pioneer PAP President 2004 - 2008
The postponed 2018 Conference would have provided the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the progress made so far or lack thereof, by the Speakers in the critical decisions taken in 2017. For example, it would have provided the opportunity to know how many of the Speakers followed up on the above issues when they got home especially setting up of focal offices in their respective ministries of foreign affairs. Did they have any challenges and how can those obstacles be addressed?

It is hoped that the one year postponement will be an opportunity to recover lost grounds and that Speakers who have not followed up on the decisions taken in 2017 will do so. The expectation will be that by the time of  2019 Speakers Conference the Malabo Protocol will have been ratified.

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