PAP Day: APPN SC Chairperson urges AU member states to ratify the Malabo Protocol - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, March 18, 2022

PAP Day: APPN SC Chairperson urges AU member states to ratify the Malabo Protocol

Calls on the AUC Chairperson to ensure that PAP election session is convened before the end of April

The Chairperson of the Steering Committee (SC) of the African Parliamentary Press Network (APPN), Sir Olu. Ibekwe has called on member states of the African Union (AU) that are yet to ratify the  Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Revised Protocol to do so without further delay to enable the Parliament play its expected role.

The Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan-African Parliament, also known as the Malabo Protocol was adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on 27th June, 2014. One of its key provisions is the designation of PAP as the legislative organ of the AU with power to make model laws in approved subjects/areas as opposed to the current protocol that gave PAP advisory and consultative powers. 

In a statement on the occasion of the 2022 PAP Day which is celebrated on the 18th of March annually to mark the date of the inauguration of the parliament in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 18, 2004, Ibekwe regretted that almost eight (8) years after the adoption of the Malabo Protocol, it has only been ratified by thirteen (13) member states, with fifteen (15) more ratifications required before it can come into force.

“The founders of the AU envisioned a PAP that would hold the governing institutions of the AU accountable in the implementation of the policies and programs as well as the use of public resources for promoting just, equitable and sustainable development for all the peoples of Africa” he wrote.

“We believe that strong democracy is key to economic development which can only be effective with strong parliamentary institutions. A strong, effective and functional PAP is necessary to ensure the growth and stability of parliaments in member states by acting as an external support mechanism for national parliaments”.

On the other key provisions of the Malabo Protocol, Ibekwe stated that when ratified, PAP members shall be elected from outside the national parliament as opposed to the current protocol where members come from the national parliaments. Secondly, at least two of the elected five members from each country delegation shall be women and two of the five members of the bureau shall also be women. In other words, forty percent (40%) of both the PAP parliamentarians and the bureau of the parliament be women.

He however regretted that PAP has been shut down since June 1, 2021 arguing that the suspension of activities has adversely affected institutional growth of the parliament.

PAP was hastily and unnecessarily shut down on June 1, 2021 by the AUC Chairperson supposedly for one month. But it has now lasted for nine months which leaves much to be desired. This should be seen within the context of the fact that the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) had on May 30, 2021 issued a very sound legal opinion that unquestionably settled the issues in dispute. Therefore, the AUC Chairperson should have instead of shutting down the institution, advised compliance with the OLC opinion”.

“Nine months later, we are back to the OLC opinion which the Executive Council has affirmed at huge financial cost to the AU”.

“As we all know, the OLC is the AU institution that has the statutory duty to ensure that decision-making processes are compliant with AU legal frameworks, as well as provide advice on the interpretation of AU legal instruments. The AUC Chairperson should not have treated the May 30 OLC opinion with ignominy?

“This has now resulted in a situation where organs and institutions of the AU which were supposed to be under PAP oversight appear to have arrogated to themselves, the power of oversight over PAP. This is inconsistent with both the vision of the founders of the AU in establishing the PAP, the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the PAP Protocol”.

Ibekwe called on the PAP parliamentarians to be mindful of the damage being done to the institution and urged them not to allow their individual interests to destroy the institution noting that even the Malabo Protocol which granted legislative powers to PAP, stated in Article 11(2) that “in developing its Rules of Procedure, the Parliament shall ensure consistency of these Rules with AU rules and regulations”. If this is so when PAP is granted legislative powers, then no less should be expected now that it has advisory and consultative powers.

He urged the African Union Commission (AUC) to ensure that the decisions of the 39th and 40th Ordinary Sessions of the Executive Council complied with by ensuring that PAP election session is convened before the end of April.  

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