Executive Council deliberation on PAP and matters arising - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Thursday, February 3, 2022

Executive Council deliberation on PAP and matters arising

By OLU. IBEKWE (oluchukwuibekwe@gmail.com)

The 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union today Thursday considered the progress report on the status of the implementation of the decisions of the 39th Ordinary Session (Decision 1128) on the resolution of the crisis that led to the suspension May 2021 session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP).

About twelve (12) Foreign Ministers of member states initially signed on to speak on the issue. They are Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cote D’ivoire, Egypt, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, Algeria, Namibia, Uganda, and Saharawi Republic. The Foreign Ministers of Djibouti, Central Africa Republic and Kenya also spoke.

They all agreed, without exception, that Decision 1128 should strictly be implemented and that PAP election session should take place in March. None suggested April or indeed any other month for the election.

However, the Chairperson of the Council made a ruling that consultations with the other four regional causes in PAP will take place and conclude by March so that election session will take place in April. The ruling came as a surprise because holding the election in April was not suggested by any of the Ministers who took the floor.

Secondly, the issue of holding consultations with the other regional caucuses before the election was not mentioned by any of the speakers. Indeed, Decision 1128 did not require such consultations before the election.

I have perused the Rules of Procedure of the Executive Council to see if there was any rule that gave the Chairperson the power to unilaterally take such a decision without considering the contributions of members on the issue but I found none.

Rule 19 of the Rules of Procedure of the Executive Council which deals with decision making procedures states that “The Executive Council shall take all its decisions by consensus or, failing which, by a two-thirds majority of the Member States eligible to vote”. So the unilateral decision by the Chairperson without regard to the consensus views of the Member States that election in March is doable, is undemocratic and unprocedural!

The substantive issue that resulted in the suspension of the PAP plenary in May 2021 and the intervention of the African Union was disagreement over rotation of the presidency of the parliament. Had those recalcitrant parliamentarians respected the legal opinion issued by the Office of Legal Counsel on or about 30 May 2021, PAP election would have successfully been conducted on 01 June 2021. After more than eight (8) months, we are back to the Legal Counsel’s opinion. Must we continue to encourage disobedience to decisions of policy organs of the AU?

As we know, the Office of Legal Counsel ensures that decision-making processes are compliant with AU legal frameworks and provides advice on the interpretation of AU legal instruments. The legal opinion should have settled the matter.

But If I may ask, what is the essence of requiring the consultations before holding the election? Was this requirement part of Decision 1128? And again did the AUC delegation that visited South Africa in September 2021 actually hold consultations with the Southern Caucus? How could the Southern Caucus submission of relevant and material documents such as the May 2007 resolution of the PAP on rotation amount to consultation? Are the consultations intended to be a back door approach to reopen or reconsider Decision 1128? Too many questions which I hope to explore in my next  article on the matter.

In my humble opinion, pandering to those recalcitrant parliamentarians who are openly defiant of the decisions of policy organs of the Union amounts to encouraging their continued mischief. The initial issue before the Council  which Decision 1128 settled was rotation. No more, no less. By insisting on these consultations before the election, the impression being created is that the fight continues even after Decision 1128. It is time for the Executive Council to read the riot act. The parliamentarians who are bent on mischief should be identified and withdrawn from PAP so that progress can be made. But then do they have godfathers and encouragers within the Commission?


1 comment:

  1. The ruling made by the chair is consistent with the one he made at the last meeting. For sure there is some inconsistencies on how the PAP matter is being handled but they lie elsewhere not with the chair and his ruling.


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