Confusion at PAP Secretariat blamed on delay in conducting Bureau elections - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



memfys hospital Enugu

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Confusion at PAP Secretariat blamed on delay in conducting Bureau elections

The delay in conducting elections for the bureau of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has led to confusion at the Secretariat as the Clerk of the Parliament, Mr. Vipya Harawa is due to retire this month without a bureau to appoint a replacement.

The continental parliament whose activities were suspended in June last year due to political disagreement over rotation of offices, has been without a bureau since then.

What is more disturbing is the seeming reluctance of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat to implement the decisions of the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (14 – 15 October, 2021) which directed the PAP Bureau election session should be convened as a matter of urgency.

Article 12(5) of the Protocol To The Treaty Establishing The African Economic Community Relating To The Pan-African Parliament, states that the bureau of the parliament is responsible for the management and administration of the affairs and facilities of the parliament and its organs.

At the heart of the current confusion or crisis if you like, is that the Clerk Mr. Harawa who was due to retire on March 9 and so, legally out of office, is still reportedly at his duty post.

Two other staff who are also due for retirement this month, have sought post retirement contract to enable them remain in their respective offices, are now caught up as pawns in the chess game.

As the Accounting Officer of the Parliament, Mr. Harawa could have approved the request of the two subordinates but he refused to do so, sensing that he may not be able to secure his own contract in the absence of a Bureau.

What he did was to join his case with that of the two subordinates and then convene a meeting of senior staff to consider the requests. According to insider sources, those at the meeting were the Deputy Clerk for Legislative Business, the Acting Deputy Clerk for Administration and Finance, the Head of Human Resources and the Legal Officer.

The meeting could not achieve the intended purpose as those invited felt that the meeting was not the appropriate way to address the issue, stating that it would be administratively improper for subordinate staff to approve contract extension for a superior officer. They however opted to refer the matter to the Office of Legal Counsel of the African Union.

Apparently unhappy with the decision, Mr. Harawa in a memo to the Legal Officer, wrote: “I hope that the matter can be resolved urgently given that some of us are in our retirement month and had all along been led to believe that we will be in PAP for the next 22 months, in RSA, with valid legal stay, with loan service ability, etc. In my case, I am also keen to handover properly to a proper successor”.

“While I obviously have a personal stake in this matter, it seems clear to me that the timing and cancellation of the President's decision at this point of the institution's affairs cannot be in the best interests of PAP” he concluded.

In response, the Legal Officer wrote:

“I received from Admin & HR a request for legal opinion on Post Retirement Short-term Contract Award for three colleagues, including yourself, with an annex of documents issued by the former Acting President, Auditors and yourself”.

“After perusal of the documents and thorough consideration, I am inclined to abstain and refer the matter to OLC for legal opinion, and this, for the following combined reasons:

The matter involves you, my supervisor, and I believe that another Legal Colleague would not only be, but also be seen to be, objective; The matter has at the core of it an instruction/directive from the former Acting President of PAP; The matter also involves an audit query/recommendation, which can only, where applicable, be outweighed by an opinion of the Director of the Office of the Legal Counsel”.

It is therefore evident from the foregoing that the absence of a Bureau has resulted in confusion among the senior staff of the parliament. 

The Importance of convening the election session in the month of April to elect a Bureau to deal with the above and other issues begging for attention at the parliament cannot therefore be overemphasized having conducted the  consultations with the MPs which observers have described as "cosmetic".

That PAP will be facing very uncertain times unless a bureau is urgently put in place is not an over-statement or exaggeration. Ramadan and Easter in April, should not be used as excuses not to convene the election session in April because it was the AUC Chairperson that insisted that the election should be held in April.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of African Parliamentary News