AU Fact-finding mission to PAP Secretariat submits progress report - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Thursday, October 7, 2021

AU Fact-finding mission to PAP Secretariat submits progress report

The African Union (AU) Delegation which visited the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Secretariat from 27 to 30 September 2021 has submitted a progress report which concluded that the legal advice of the PAP Secretariat to the Rules Committee regarding the application of the principle of rotation, failed to include the previous resolution of the PAP in 2007 that agreed to apply the principle of rotation in the election of the Bureau and its Bureaux.

A copy of the report which was obtained by African Parliamentary News maintained that the fact that PAP chose not to incorporate the principle in the 2011 Rules of Procedure, does not absolve the fact that the principle has been discussed by the PAP and it can be traced in records of the latter.

It also expressed “concerns over the running of PAP’s affairs by the Clerk given the fact that he is not an elected official of the Organ” noting the fact that the Bureau of PAP had been dissolved prior to the election that is yet to take place, in addition to the suspension of all parliamentary activities by the Chairperson of the AU Commission.
African Parliamentary News recalls that following the unfortunate incidents of 27 May and 30 June 2021 at the PAP which resulted in the suspension activities of the Parliament, the Chairperson of the AU Commission dispatched a Delegation of senior officers from the Commission and the PRC from 27 to 30 September 2021 to undertake fact-finding mission to the Secretariat of the Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

The eleven page report referenced EX.CL/1294(XXXIX) noted that the Delegation on arrival, engaged with the Clerk of the Parliament and other members of the PAP Secretariat, and met with the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa concerning the incidents of last May/June 2021; and also reviewed written submissions forwarded by the interviewees.

On the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affair of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa “the Minister informed the delegation that she is in receipt of report of auditors that raised a number of seeming violation of the funding provided by AU and the host government. Accordingly, she requested the Chairperson of the Commission to submit the audit report to the PRC and onward submission to the Executive Council to decide on the type of action to be taken against such violation. She reiterated that the report be taken seriously and considered by the Policy Organs”.  

“She further expressed her concern and displeasure regarding some communications of the Clerk. She referred to a letter dated 01 September 2021 to all AU member states implying that South Africa has failed the

Organ as a host state. In this regard, the Minister conveyed her regret for not being consulted before dispatching a letter on such an important subject”.

The Legal Officer of the AU Commission also briefed the delegation where the following were underlined:

“The two decisions of the Executive Council simply reiterated the practice of the Union since its establishment and the same principle has been reflected in the PAP Protocol and practice of the PAP Plenary. Hence, the Executive Council decisions are considered declaratory to customary international law rather than presenting a new element that was not in the practice of the Union and that of the PAP”. 

“Thus, the election process shall be conducted in accordance with above cited rules and decisions of the Policy Organs to allow each region to assume both the presidency and role of vice-presidencies on rotational basis. Rule 16(8) of the PAP Rules of Procedure which stipulates that “at all times...there shall not be more than one member of the Bureau from the same region” further reinforce this interpretation”.

“Any Election of the PAP Bureau that doesn’t respect the mentioned customary international law and decisions on geographical rotations shall be deemed inconsistent with the Principle and is in violation of the 2001 PAP Protocol. Such, the election should be limited to regions who never occupied the presidency of PAP and shall be eligible to present candidates for the post”.

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