Charumbira renews call for the ratification of the Pan African Parliament’s Revised Protocol - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Charumbira renews call for the ratification of the Pan African Parliament’s Revised Protocol

Hon. Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira

The Fourth Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Hon. Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira has urged the East African Regional Caucus of PAP to heed the call to ratify the Malabo Protocol,
Chief Charumbira made the call while delivering a goodwill message at the opening ceremony of the consultation meeting of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) East African Regional Caucus which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme: Building regional consensus on AU legal instruments and promoting the ratification of the protocol to the constitutive act of the Pan-African parliament: engaging civil society organizations in the promotion of AU legal instruments, from 18 to 21 November 2019.
According to a press release by PAP’s Media Officer Jeffrey Onganga, the meeting wais aimed at sensitizing East African countries on the ratification of the revised PAP Protocol, also known as the Malabo Protocol. which is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force. To date, 12 countries have ratified the Protocol.
The East African Region of the PAP is comprised of 13 countries which include Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somali, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.  Somalia and Madagascar are the only two countries that have signed, ratified and deposited the instrument.  Comoros and Djibouti have only signed but are yet to complete the process.
Addressing the parliamentarians, Charumbira stated: “it is common knowledge that the Sun rises in the east. Therefore I expect that you will bring light to the issue of the ratification of the PAP Protocol as this is long overdue and the integration of the continent is at stake. In fact, African Union member states have just overwhelmingly ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This is very good news. However, how do we move from here without a continental Parliament that can legislate and harmonize laws to ensure that all our national systems are compatible with the requirements of this agreement?”.
He added:” Our people cannot wait any longer. Institutions such as the PAP were established based on a rationale that is still valid today. We need it and we urge civil society to join us in putting pressure on our leaders for this issue to be expedited.”
In her welcome remarks, Hon. Sen. Janet ONG’ERA, Chairperson of the PAP East African Regional Caucus, noted that the meeting provided an opportunity for the region to  consult on how to catch up and come up with concrete steps on how build momentum for the ratification of the revised PAP Protocol.
“"We cannot afford to be left behind as the Eastern Caucus. We ought to heed the call and give our continental Parliament the necessary tools to make a tangible impact on the lives of our citizens. Africa needs a strong PAP and this meeting has the potential to enhance this strength through concrete action. Let's get to work!"
The opening ceremony of the consultation meeting was also graced by Hon. Rachel SHEBESH, Chief Administrative Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service for Youth and Gender Affairs of the Republic of Kenya and former member of the PAP. She pointed out the lack of political will as one of the major obstacles to the ratification of the Malabo Protocol while urging members of the PAP to be relentless in advocating for a fully-fledged legislative organ.
“As a former member of this Parliament I understand the challenges as well as the potential of this institution. We fought so hard to obtain the revised Protocol from Heads of State and Government in Equatorial Guinea in 2014 so we cannot give up now.From a Kenyan perspective, we are committed to the PAP and we will ensure that the Parliament is given the place it deserves,” says Hon. SHEBESH.
It would be recalled that the Rt. Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG, President of the PAP, had in a pre-event release described the consultation meeting as a defining phase in the ratification journey of the PAP Protocol, given the strategic positioning of the East African region and its capacity to boost the required numbers for PAP to attain full legislative powers.
“This meeting constitutes a crucial step in rallying Eastern African countries behind the ideal of a powerful continental Parliament that can legislate for all. We held a similar gathering in the central African region in 2017 and it resulted in the ratification of the revised PAP Protocol by Cameroon, Chad and Equatorial Guinea as well as the signature by the Central African Republic. We hope to garner the same momentum from East Africa as we target 28 ratifications,” says Rt. Hon. Nkodo DANG.
He added: “We have also been challenged by the AU Assembly to encourage national and regional Parliaments to ratify and integrate treaties adopted by the AU into their legal system. This consultation will therefore emphasize the African integration imperative to ratify and domesticate AU legal instruments as this is part of our mandate as the continental Parliament
PAP is one of the nine organs of the African Union (AU) with the mandate to promote economic and social integration through making model laws. Under the current PAP Protocol, it has advisory and consultative powers as well as oversight over all AU organs.
The Malabo Protocol was adopted at the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The ratification journey has three steps: the signing, ratification and depositing of instruments at the African Union Commission. Out of the 13 East African countries, only Somalia and Madagascar have signed, ratified and deposited their instruments at the African Union Commission.  Comoros and Djibouti have only signed but are yet to complete the process.

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