PAP Southern Regional Caucus submits proposals on reviving, renewing, repositioning and reinvigorating the Parliament - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, August 26, 2022

PAP Southern Regional Caucus submits proposals on reviving, renewing, repositioning and reinvigorating the Parliament

The Southern Regional Caucus in the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has called on the National Parliaments of member states of the African Union (AU) to ensure that the delegations that are deployed to the PAP take into consideration, such important constituencies like persons with disabilities and the youth. Also, the requirement that there must be one woman in the delegation needs to be changed in line with international best practices and instruct member states to ensure that women must be two or more.

This was contained in the proposals submitted by the Caucus Chairperson Rt. Hon. Pemmy Majodina at the Strategic Reorientation Workshop for members of the continental Parliament with the theme Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning and Reinvigorating the Pan-African Parliament” on the sidelines of the Sitting of the Permanent Committees of the continental Parliament in Midrand, South Africa under the African Union theme of 2022: ‘Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development’.

It would be recalled that as part of the workshop, regional caucuses  were tasked by the leadership of the PAP to consult and answer the following questions: Why was the PAP established? What does the African citizenry expect from PAP? What are the PAP deliverables? Is the PAP delivering on its mandate and public expectations? And what should the PAP do to better deliver on its mandate?

In her presentation, Hon. Majodina who is the Chief Whip of the Parliament of South Africa, submitted that the PAP rules of procedure need to be amended to avoid flare ups that took place in 2021 when there was a misunderstanding about the interpretation of the rules. Also, the rules must be made in such a way that they are not prone to manipulation by persons in power within the organs of PAP. They must reflect fairness, integrity and principle.

She also posited that PAP must develop an annual plan that will be shared with national Parliaments to guide national parliaments in their budgeting and planning for the participation of their members at PAP sessions and activities. This will abate instances whereby some MPs are unable to participate in PAP statutory activities due to budgetary constraints. Other recommendations by the Southern Caucus include:

  • In view of the fact that the PAP’s role in the AU governance system is not well defined, the PAP Bureau must organise meetings with relevant AU organs to clarify the role of the PAP and to ensure that PAP’s turf is clearly defined within the AU governance system. Specifically, the Bureau needs to engage the Political Affairs Department of the African Union Commission to improve the conditions for the participation of PAP members during election observation missions.
  • Also, the PAP bureau must attempt to convince the AU about allowing the PAP to hold its own election observation missions. This will resolve the challenges of logistics and other shortcomings that are currently experienced by members of parliament in the African Union Commission coordinated election observer missions.
  • A skills audit of both the Secretariat and the members needs to be conducted to establish if the right personnel in both the Secretariat and political leadership are occupying roles that they are competent to hold.
  • A mechanism of following up on the PAP recommendations submitted to the African Union must be established.
  • PAP members must improve their time management skills and make sure that they come to meetings on time.  Members must inspire themselves to arrive on time for PAP meetings.
  • African Union subscriptions by member states must include additional subscriptions that are intended to cover the costs of MPs like sitting allowances, medical and other benefits.
  • The popularization and marketing of the PAP needs to be prioritised to familiarise PAP with the citizens of Africa.
  • A PAP charter that will be the basis of the values of the PAP must be developed to guide the members of parliament and the secretariat of the PAP.
  • In order to capacitate the work of the 5 regional caucuses of the PAP, a budget and antecedent resources must me provided. Staff that is solely dedicated to the implementation of the caucus activities and programmes must be availed to the regional caucuses.
  • The privileges and benefits of the members of the PAP must be defined. Over the years, PAP members have been deprived benefits like medical health coverage and sitting allowances. These allowances, together with a plethora of other benefits that have been siphoned off members, must be restored.
  • In view of the fact that PAP has a very high turn over of MP and that every session of the PAP has new members, the PAP needs to set up a department or unit that will focus on intensive induction of new members. This must not be done on an ad hoc basis because the PAP always has new members in every session.
  • Member states, through the Speakers of Parliaments, must be encouraged to have parliamentary sessions wherein the PAP reports are delivered and discussed. This will aide the PAP to keep national parliaments abreast with their mandate and their activities.
  • The lack of clarity on whether PAP is a legislative or non-legislative body must also be addressed with the AU. This will assist with clarifying the true nature and content of the PAP.

The Caucus also argued that “PAP’s marketing has not been effective over the years. PAP is currently not known by the people in Africa. Parliaments are also not well informed about the mandate of the PAP. This must be addressed as a priority in the endeavour to revive and reinvigorate the PAP” said Hon. Majodina.

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