Pan African Parliament Day to be celebrated annually on March 18 - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, March 19, 2021

Pan African Parliament Day to be celebrated annually on March 18

The Acting President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), H. E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira has declared March 18 as Pan African Parliament  Day (PAP Day) to be celebrated annually to commemorate the inauguration of the continental parliament on March 18, 2004.

Charumbira made the declaration while delivering a keynote address at the virtual launch of the PAP Day on Thursday March 18.

He described PAP as “an inescapable institution” that the continent cannot do without if the African Union (AU) must fulfill the vision of the founders adding that the celebration will serve as a reminder on decision makers in the continent to live up to their obligations.

“As a milestone, PAP celebrated its 10th Anniversary in March 2014” and stressed the need for citizen participation in the activities of PAP.

Reflecting on the potentials of PAP, Chief Charumbira called on African leaders to ensure that the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan African Parliament adopted by the Twenty-Third Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014 is speedily ratified by the majority of the member states of the AU.

“While the Malabo Protocol requires twenty-eight countries to ratify it before coming into force, it has only been ratified by twelve countries and adopted by twenty-one countries”.

In his welcome remarks, the Clerk of the PAP, Mr. Vipya Harawa noted that a celebration such as this “can breadth life into an organization” as it “provided an opportunity for the PAP to reflect on its journey after seventeen years of its inauguration” as well as “position it as a parliament for all and a representation of the peoples of Africa”.

Mr.Vipya Harawa also noted that the celebration would “empower stakeholders with knowledge on the PAP and its function as a legislative organ of the African Union and galvanize people on the need to ratify the Malabo Protocol and encourage actions aimed at engaging leaders in speeding up this process.

“We are grateful to the visionary leadership of Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira who within ten days of ascending to the highest step of leadership in the Parliament, shared his vision of the PAP Day with us and directed the Secretariat to ensure that the PAP Day is celebrated” said Harawa.

He hoped that the launch of the PAP Day would result in improved understanding of the PAP and the clarification of the role of the PAP within the AU architecture as well as result in the mobilization of support on the mandate of the PAP.

Mr. Harawa sought support from national Parliaments in the commemoration of the PAP Day and dissemination of the work of the PAP amongst the youth throughout the continent and beyond.

In his speech, the Speaker of East African Legislative Assembly, Right Honourable Ngoga Martin, called for the ratification of the Malabo Protocol noting that PAP cannot fulfil its envisioned role by exercising advisory and consultative powers.

According to Rt. Hon. Martin, this weak institutional set-up without legislative powers is a major challenge facing PAP.

Rt. Hon. Martin observed that the lack of awareness of the activities of PAP by the people and the increasing level of youth unemployment are some of the challenges facing the Parliament and then condemned the protectionist policies of some countries including xenophobia.

He was optimistic that PAP would be transformed to ensure participatory decision making and integration of the African continent.

Other speakers at the virtual event included Prof. Frans Viljoen, Director of Center for Human Rights (University of Pretoria), Gilbert Borketey Boyefio, African Parliamentary Press Network (APPN), Amb. Salah Hammad, Head of AGA Secretariat, Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security- African Union Commission, H.E. Salih Omar Abdu, Ambassador of the State of Eritrea and Dean of the African Diplomatic Heads of Missions in South Africa, and Right Honourable Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament.

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