Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament adjourns - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, July 1, 2022

Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament adjourns

The Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament has adjourned today after the successfully electing a new Bureau for the Parliament. The adjournment was pronounced by the newly elected President of the Parliament, Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira.

In his closing speech, Chief Charumbira noted that it has indeed been a remarkable and an extraordinary historical session where members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) “collectively embraced a paradigm shift in our parliamentary discourse and began the process of regenerating the spirit and vitality of our continental parliament”.

“When you recall the events of the past few months at this hollow chamber, no one would have envisioned this historical moment and I thank you all for your contribution in bringing about a smooth and seamless transition of the leadership of the Pan African Parliament”.

He congratulated the newly sworn in members of the Parliament and reminded them of the solemn responsibility and the heavy burden that they bear to “protect our constitutional democracy, promote the basic tenets of rule of law and defend fundamental human rights across the continent. You must fiercely defend the foundational cornerstone of this parliamentary body and ensure that rule of law, adherence to democratic tenets and principles of representative democracy are strictly enforced”.

“While we have acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the African Union Commission led by the Chairman H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat and the fervent dedication of the Office of the Legal Counsel, I cannot fail to thank you my fellow Parliamentarians for your hard-work, dedication and tenacious commitment to the cause of this great parliamentary institution. We demonstrated through our ability to deliver a seamless election process that notwithstanding the preceding internal institutional acrimony, we can achieve a smooth transition of power and authority in a manner that is reflective of our foundational ideology and consistent with the ideals of democracy”.

“My Honourable Colleagues, we began this Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament with a speech from His Excellency President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal and incumbent Chairperson of the African Union ably presented by His Excellency Mousa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union. In his presentation, we were reminded that despite being the third highest organ of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament has not lived up to expectation. This is a verdict that we shall begin to reverse. We will be challenged by this verdict in our quest to strengthen our institutional and political framework and reposition our parliament as a reputable continental legislative body”.

“We also received a message of solidarity from the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Rt. Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, where she reaffirmed the support of the government of South Africa to the Pan African Parliament while pledging to foster mutual collaborative engagements between our respective institutions”.

Chief Charumbira noted that following the swearing in of new members and the opening speeches that formally declared the session opened, it now went into a closed session where the Acting Legal Counsel of the African Union, Dr.Guy-Fluery Ntwari outlined the the modalities for election of Bureau Members of the Sixth Pan African Parliament and reaffirmed the institutional principles of geographical rotation as enshrined in various Executive Council decisions of the African Union. The modalities contained clear and unequivocal guidelines that laid a solid foundation for realigning and structurally readjusting our institutional practices to become compatible with the practices at other AU organs.

“It is recognized within the AU and indeed the Pan African Parliament that one of the core institutional principles that tests the Union’s disposition to democratic tenets and values is the issue of rotation in our organs and particularly for the Presidency of PAP. In our pluralistic democracy, regional balance and respect for an orderly distribution of power within the AU family is a quintessential element in a functional representative democracy”.

“The Pan African Parliament and indeed the African Union have instituted policies that emphasize the importance of rekindling a sense of regional integration, unity, inclusion and solidarity. Undeniably, the integration process of our continent can only be made feasible when all members of the family are given a fair and equitable access to the distribution of power. This basic philosophy underlies the centrality of the AU decisions with regards to rotation of the Presidency and is aimed at integrating the regional caucuses within the framework of the African Union. I’m delighted that the Pan African Parliament has through this successful election institutionalized the principle of rotation for this and future elections. This underscores the imperative of our shared values of establishing within the continent a formidable mechanism for democracy which will also serve as bedrock for our political resilience against the linguistic and religious artificial barriers that have been manipulated to cause political rift amongst us. I congratulate all of us on this transformational and historic milestone”.

He reminded the parliamentarians that Africa is faced with a myriad of systemic challenges that continue to undermine her human and economic development. These include political instability in some countries which is adversely affecting regional cohesion, international peace and security as well as infrastructural development, hence the thrust to Silence the Guns in Africa. Others are the negative effects of climate change which has resulted in droughts, floods and other extreme weather conditions; and the ravaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has disrupted health systems. Their increased frequency and intensity over the years have adversely affected the prospects for sustained economic growth in the continent.

Continuing, he reminded his colleagues that unfriendly Visa regimes affect inter-country, intra-regional and inter-regional trade, integration and cooperation. They not only inhibit the free movement of people and goods, but also retard economic growth contrary to the set objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“In order to be effective in responding to the contemporary challenges and imperatives confronting Africa, the Pan-African Parliament will require an enhanced institutional architecture and a re-alignment of our institutional priorities. I’m confident that the new Bureau will rise to the challenge”. 

“I wish to remind all of us that this is our collective responsibility and with everyone working in unison, we can unleash new frontiers and seek new horizons and broaden our influence in our continental struggles, while working assiduously to cement our footprints in the annals of history and on the sands of time”.

“On behalf of the Bureau, the Secretariat and Staff of the Pan-African Parliament, I would like to thank the National Parliaments of your respective countries for their continued support to PAP and wish you all Journey Mercies as you return to your respective destinations after the elections of the Bureau and Bureaux scheduled for today and tomorrow”.

#PanAfricanParliament    #PAP    #AfricanUnion    #FortuneCharumbira

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