The claimed impediment to convening PAP election session in March have been cleared. - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Saturday, March 5, 2022

The claimed impediment to convening PAP election session in March have been cleared.

By Olu. Ibekwe

In compliance with the African Union (AU) directive on the conditions precedent to the resumption of parliamentary activities for the elections of the Bureau and Bureaux of the organs of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the African Union Commission (AUC) panel on PAP held consultative meetings with the Regional Parliamentary Caucuses of Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa and West Africa on 23 and 24 February, 2022 in Addis Ababa.

The consultative meetings were mandated by the 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (February 2 to 3, 2022) following a presentation by the AUC Chairperson that the implementation of the decisions of the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (October 14 -15, 2021) which directed that PAP election session should be held as a matter of urgency was delayed because the AUC wanted to hold consultations with the four regional caucuses that could not meet with the AUC Chairperson’s delegation that visited the PAP Secretariat in September 2021.

An objective review of the consultative meetings with the regional parliamentary caucuses that took place on February 23 and 24, 2022 in Addis Ababa shows that it fell short of expectations as the outcome could not have justified the delay in the implementation of the decisions of the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, 14 – 15 October 2021.

First, what necessitated the mandated consultations was that the AUC delegation that visited the PAP Secretariat in September 2021 were alleged to have held consultation with the Southern Regional Caucus to the exclusion of the other four caucuses. That is, the delegation met with the Southern Caucus as an organized group with a leadership that submitted a position paper.

However, those that attended the February 23 – 24, 2022 meeting in Addis Ababa did not come as members of an organized regional caucus but in their individual capacities. They were not even representatives of their country caucuses and spoke only for themselves.

The meetings turned out to be an avenue for those recalcitrant MPs to continue to advance the same rejected arguments against the principle of rotation with one of the MPs even positing that rotation should be delayed for another three years obviously to enable him contest for the presidency of the parliament.

In other words, they turned out to be MPs who came to argue against the decisions of the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council which should have long been implemented and worse still, they did so without even presenting any position paper that articulated the basis for their opposition to the AU decision on rotation.

One would have expected that those demanding for an opportunity to be heard or consulted wanted to be able to present evidence that would contradict or impeach the evidence presented by the Southern Caucus on the May 2007 Resolution of the PAP Plenary on rotation. Or even present mitigating evidence about previous Executive Council decision on rotation that can advance their position.

Or that they needed to present evidence that had they been able to do so before the panel that visited the PAP Secretariat in 2021, would have affected the recommendations of the panel in their progress report or the decisions of the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council on PAP.

For example, the West Africa Caucus has about fourteen member countries with three of them under AU sanctions. Of the eleven remaining countries, MPs from Cote de Ivoire, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Niger attended the consultation on February 24. Niger, Sierra Leone and Ghana all supported the decision of the Executive Council on rotation. The Foreign Minister of Cote D’ Ivoire who spoke during the Executive Council debate on February 3, 2021 spoke in favour of rotation. Senegal is now occupying the position of the Chairperson of the African Union on the basis of rotation and a member from Senegal does not want the rotation to apply at PAP? Is it not hypocrisy?

North Africa unequivocally supported rotation and for elections to be held latest in April. MPs from Algeria, Sahrawi, Libya and Morocco attended the meeting. Egypt, Mauritania and Tunisia did not attend but Egypt is known to support rotation going by the contribution of her Foreign Minister on February 3.

But is it not interesting that some of the MPs that had claimed that PAP is an independent AU organ that should not be dictated to by the Executive Council, were the ones who went to Addis Ababa on February 23 and 24, 2022 to prostrate before some AUC staffers in the name of consultations?

There is therefore no other impediment to convening PAP election session as a matter of urgency as decided by the 39th and 40th Ordinary Sessions of the Executive Council in 14 – 15 October 2021 and 02 – 03 February, 2022. And as we know, decisions of the Executive Council are binding on all organs, institutions and member states of the African Union.

The Moslem holidays is expected to begin on April 3, 2022 and last throughout the month while the Easter holidays for Christians will also hold in April. So the last week of March 2022 is the most ideal time for the election session to take place

The Office of Legal Counsel should without further delay, give a 14-day notice of an Extra-Ordinary PAP session for the sole purpose of Bureau election and release the guidelines for the election session after consultations with the AUC Chairperson, taking into consideration, the urgency of the matter. It is time for the AUC Chairperson, in compliance with Executive Council decisions, to the necessary steps to allow for the smooth running of PAP.

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