PAP President Charumbira kicks against the centralization of processes and systems at the AUC - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Saturday, June 10, 2023

PAP President Charumbira kicks against the centralization of processes and systems at the AUC

The President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), H.E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira has said that the centralization of business processes and systems at the African Union Commission (AUC), though driven by the desire to eradicate inefficiencies, has ironically resulted in even greater inefficiencies.

H.E. Hon. Chief Charumbira stated this in his presentation on the mandate of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) during a retreat of all AU Organs and institutions on AU Reforms in Kigali, Rwanda. The retreat which kicked off on 08 June will end on 11 June, 2023.

To buttress his point, he said: “I refer, for example, to the recruitment system which is now done through the Merit Based Recruitment System (MBRS) which is resident at the AUC. Advertisements have to go through the AU Portal and the long-listing is done through the same system which is centralized in Addis. With the paucity of manpower in Addis, the result has been an even greater delay in the recruitment of staff. The turnaround time for recruitment has become even more protracted compared to when the Organs were in charge of their own recruitment resulting in inefficiencies in service delivery by the various Organs”.

“The Pan African Parliament, therefore, recommends that the MBRS system should be cascaded to the Organs who should have access through their Human Resources Departments to the portal.”

“Even the ICT system is centralized in Addis and the dangers of this were apparent when the system was hacked. The SAP system malfunctioned, payments stalled, including even the payment of staff salaries. Even to this day, some staff emails are malfunctioning and the challenges can only be resolved in Addis. The centralization of business operating systems has not brought the advantages that were envisaged but has, in fact, resulted in even greater inefficiencies which are affecting the outputs of Organs.”

H.E. Hon. Chief Charumbira commended the Head of the AU Reform Unit, Professor Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, and his team for a brilliant and comprehensive report on the proposed restructuring of the African Union. “I am impressed by how succinctly Professor Moukoko and his team captured the issues hampering the Pan African Parliament and other AU Organs from effectively fulfilling their mandate and living up to the expectations of the African citizenry. The reform process might have taken long but after reading and listening to their report, I believe it was well worth the wait. The report justifies the time and resources devoted to this process and I fully concur with the observations and recommendations on the PAP” he said.

Going down memory lane as a founding member of the PAP from its establishment in 2004, Chief Charumbira stated that “the founding fathers of the Union, realized that without a continental legislature made up of the people’s elected representatives, the Union was a Union of Member States and not a Union of African citizens. The founding fathers realized that without a continental Parliament, the quest for representative democracy, popular participation and continental integration would remain nothing more than a pipe-dream.”

“In establishing the Pan African Parliament in 2004, our Founding Fathers had realized that there was a missing link not just in terms of participatory democracy, but, equally importantly, in strengthening the demand side of accountability. Parliaments the world over, are critical to any governance architecture as institutions of accountability that hold governments to account and ensure that governments deliver to citizens’ expectations. Parliaments are critical cogs in public sector accountability and our founding fathers recognized that such an institution cannot be missing at the continental level.”

He debunked the insinuation that unless the Malabo Protocol receives the required 28 signatures and is ratified by Member States, the PAP will remain an advisory and consultative body that cannot carry out the functions outlined in the PAP Protocol

“A large part of the business of Parliament is the oversight and representative functions which, in essence, are advisory and consultative functions. The spirit of Article 3 as read with Article 11 of the Sirte Protocol and the PAP Rules of Procedure is that these functions were implementable since the establishment of the PAP in 2004.The budget of the African Union ought to have been discussed by the Pan African Parliament and recommendations made to the Assembly since 2004 because this is an oversight issue which has nothing to do with the law-making function. The PAP was well within its competence to examine and discuss any issues before the Assembly or any of the Organs since 2004 because this, again, is an oversight issues which cannot be crippled by the absence of legislative authority” he stated.

H.E. Hon. Chief Charumbira on behalf of the Pan African Parliament backed the recommendations by the Reform Unit on the following:

1.     The need to accord the PAP its appropriate position in the hierarchy of the AU organs, so that it can address and attend the meetings of the Executive Council and the Assembly;

2.     The PAP President and the Bureau and the Plenary should be supported to fully implement their responsibility regarding the management and administration of the PAP, including the appointment of the Clerk and Deputy Clerks, the power of proposing the structure of the Secretariat, as provided in the Protocol, and payment of monthly salaries at a level of 70% of office bearers of equivalent level;

3.     The extension of their precinct stay from 10 to 20 days as proposed by PAP should be taken under consideration.

4.     The PAP should be supported by adequate and skilled officers appointed by the PAP and who should be accountable to the PAP Bureau and the Assembly pursuant to the provisions of the Protocol, including expert officials to support the work of Parliamentary Committees, Research and Budget mandates of the PAP;

5.     The PAP Bureau and relevant Parliamentary Committees should play a pivotal role in the development of the Budget of the PAP and the Secretariat of the PAP should render the appropriate support in this regard rather than bypass PAP to work with the AUC;

6.     The Budget of the PAP should include the work of Parliamentary Committees which is the prime mechanism for the work of the PAP and should also make provision for the requisite equipment and other logice of the PAP functions;

7.     The Budget of the PAP should be approved and disbursed in a timely manner for the effective and efficient functioning of the PAP.

8.     The PAP budget should include the allowances for the Parliamentarians as provided for in the Protocol, to reduce the financial burden on the national parliaments for their attendance to PAP meetings;

9.     The AU Commission should provide clarity regarding its role and other organs of the AU vis-a-vis the mandates and powers of the PAP as provided in the Protocol, to avoid overlap and duplication as well as overreach by any of these AU organs. The functions regarding election monitoring and monitoring and evaluation of AU programs and activities should be clearly delineated and realigned in accordance with the legal instruments pertaining to the various AU organs and Institutions;

10.  The AUC should develop measures for officials and officials of other AU organs to enable them to submit reports to the PAP and appear before the Plenary and Committees of the PAP as required for the PAP to perform its oversight functions effectively and efficiently as provided in the Protocol, over the programs and policies of the AU and its organs;

11.  The AUC should consider decentralising business systems and processes to Organs, including recruitment, to enhance efficiency and timely service delivery;

12.  The PAP should be allowed to play its oversight role on the Union budget prior to its consideration by the Assembly. This role does not preclude the role played by the PRC and the Executive Council in the same. A mechanism should be developed to ensure that each Organ plays its part in budgetary oversight as per the Protocols.


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