Pan-African Parliament’s Amended Rules and matters arising - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



memfys hospital Enugu

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Pan-African Parliament’s Amended Rules and matters arising

By Olu. Ibekwe

History was made on Friday 04 November 2022 when members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) unanimously adopted amendments to her Rules of Procedure during the First Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament. On that day, the Parliamentarians put aside their differences in the spirit of “One Africa, One Voice” to adopt amendments to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

The 29 election 2022 of the new Bureau led by Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira resulted in a breadth of fresh air in the affairs of the Pan-African Parliament. The old division along Anglophone, Francophone and the like disappeared and was replaced with a new African spirit.

In so short a time, Pan-African Parliament’s image as a pariah organ of the African Union (AU) changed to the extent that the Executive Council in July 2022 following the Bureau election, welcomed the spirit of compromise of the parliamentarians that prevailed during the elections.

The Executive Council during the 42nd Ordinary Session in February 2023 appreciated the activities implemented by the Pan-African Parliament within a short time period in 2022, in spite of limited budgetary resources, especially the proposed Model Law on Food and Nutrition Security, in furtherance of the African Union theme of the Year 2022;

The Council welcomed the institutionalization of collaboration between the PAP and other AU organs, such as the African Union Commission, NEPAD, APRM, PRC and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which will enable policy coherence, rationalization of resources and effective complementarity within the African Union institutional architecture.

It went on to request the Pan-African Parliament to work closely with National and Regional Parliaments to expedite the harmonization of national legislative and policy frameworks to create an enabling environment for the realization of the African free trade and free movement of persons, in line with the African Union 2023 Theme of the Year.

And to ensure the availability of resources to execute the above mandate, the Executive Council then directed the PRC, though the relevant Sub-Committee to reconsider the 2023 budget of the PAP in order to enable the Parliament to meet its institutional and operational needs and to effectively fulfill its mandate. They were to report on progress on the implementation of this Decision in July 2022.

Unfortunately, those who were responsible for the implementation of the above Executive Council directive to review the budget of PAP, for reasons best known to them, failed to do so and consequently, did not submit any progress report at the last Council meeting in July 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. This is why PAP could not hold the August 2023 Committee Session and the October session is hanging in the balance.

Instead of members working together to seek solution to the funding challenge, those who lost in the last June 2022 saw it as an opportunity to, without any shred of evidence, accuse the President of misappropriation of non-existent $1.2 million. It is the ambition of those that lost election in 2022 that is being used to challenge the Amended Rules of Procedure of PAP. The claim that the Rules violated certain provisions of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing The African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Protocol) is just a smokescreen.

The record of proceedings showed that none of the parliamentarians rose to oppose adoption of any of the proposed amendments or even expressed any reservations about the process which by their admissions on 04 November 2023 was participatory.

Fortunately, parliaments routinely maintain record of proceedings and PAP is no exception. In those records, lies the truth.

Was the process hurried?

On 18 May 2017, more than six years ago, the Pan African Parliament adopted Resolution No. PAP. 4/PLN/RES/08/MAY.17, by which the Parliament resolved that the Rules of Procedure of PAP be amended in accordance with Rule 93 and more particularly then to incorporate the principle of rotation of the Presidency of the Pan-African Parliament. By that resolution, the Parliament expressed a desire to thoroughly update and review the Rules of Procedure in order to ensure that they are fully reflective of the evolution and the evolving needs of the Pan-African Parliament.

There was also the need to institutionalize relevant Plenary Resolutions of the Parliament and integrate the various decisions of the Executive Council and decisions of the African Union (AU) Policy Organs into PAP’s internal procedures and practices. These include Executive Council Decisions EX.CL/Dec.979(XXXI) adopted in June 2017 (called upon the Pan-African Parliament, “to apply the African Union values, rules, and regulations in managing all activities of the organ, including rotation of the Bureau and presidency...”), EX.CL/Dec.1018(XXXII) adopted in June 2018 (where it requested, “the PAP to comply with the principle of geographical rotation among the five regions of the Africa in future elections of the Bureau”; and Doc. (EX.CL/1294XXXIX) of October  2021, (directing that the elections should be in line with the principle of rotation and only regions that have not previously held the position are eligible to present candidates for election of the PAP President through their Regional Caucuses), EX.CL/Dec.1174(XLI) of July 2022 (directing PAP to apply the rotation formula outlined in the Modalities for Election of Bureau Members of the Sixth Pan African Parliament in all future elections of the Bureau and directing the Office of the Legal Counsel, in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the PAP, to urgently review the Rules of Procedure of the PAP to ensure alignment with African Union values, rules, and regulations as well as established practices of the Union including the principle of geographical rotation). These decisions incorporated the principle of the Assembly Decision, identified as Assembly/AU/757(XXXIII) of February 2020 that directed the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to examine and align legal instruments and Rules of Procedure of AU Organs and request OLC to review the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament and report back to the Executive Council. These seminal decisions, resolutions and assembly decisions underscore the imperative of embarking the review exercise.

It should also be recognized that parliamentary institutions all across the globe periodically undergo a process of institutional readjustment of its internal structures, practices and ideologies where it seeks to identify gaps and weaknesses with the objective to implement institutional and structural reform, and transform existing legal frameworks, in order to ensure that they are responsive, and representative of their foundational visions and aspirations.

Therefore the rules amendment process embarked upon by the Parliament which culminated in the adoption on 04 November 2022, in addition to incorporating the above decisions of the policy organs of the AU into the Rules, also presented the Parliament with a unique and strategic opportunity to revitalize the fabric of PAP and reposition it for effective parliamentary practices.

The amendment process not only ensured that PAP remains formidable in the effective exercise of its parliamentary responsibilities, it also ensured that the Rules of Procedure conforms more profoundly to evolving global realities and international best practices.

It would be recalled that the Parliament in August 2022, held a three-day strategic reorientation workshop for members of the Parliament on the theme “Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning and Reinvigorating the Pan African Parliament”. In his keynote address at that workshop, President of the Parliament, H. E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira stated:

“As your President, I will be remiss if I fail to express the sorrow that I feel at each moment that I recall or reflect on the June 2021 pre-election hostilities, divisions and pockets of resistance to the enforcement of the ideals of geographical rotation at the Parliament. “

“I acknowledge that while these conducts manifestly exposed the ill-intentions of a minority of our members who were intent on derailing the election session with the hope of destabilizing the Pan African Parliament, I recognize and acknowledge that it is profoundly more symptomatic of a larger continental problem precipitated by colonial divisions of language and religion.”

“This underscores the imperative of this workshop and the need to institutionalize our shared values of establishing within the continent a formidable mechanism for democracy which will also serve as bedrock for political resilience against the linguistic and religious artificial barriers that have long been manipulated to cause political rift amongst us.”

“It is evident from these events, that the Pan-African Parliament will require an enhanced institutional architecture and a re-alignment of our institutional priorities. I am confident that this workshop will accelerate the Bureau’s resolute determination to foster a unity of purpose in the discharge of our mandate and to ensure that our Parliamentarians are substantially capacitated to respond to this and many other contemporary challenges and imperatives confronting Africa.”

“Undeniably, these issues affect the image of PAP and how it is perceived by the public. It is our responsibility to ensure that our reputation remains spectacularly beyond reproach. I am delighted that in this workshop, a great deal of attention will be devoted to strategic framework for rebranding the Pan African Parliament and repositioning it in the continental governance matrix.”

It was during this August 2022 workshop that members of the Parliament unanimously identified the amendment of the Rules of Procedure as a key priority area that must be undertaken in the quest to revive, renew, reposition, and refocus PAP.

As part of facilitating the process, the five (5) Regional Caucuses were availed with a Report of a workshop of the Committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline held from the 5th to the 06th of September 2022 as well as Gap Analysis and the Report of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline on identified gaps. After considering these reports and other potential areas of amendments, Regional Caucuses presented their reports in a Plenary held on 26 October 2022. As agreed in Plenary, a document on colour coding of all the areas of agreements and disagreements was prepared. The document tracked and consolidated interventions by Members through their Regional Caucuses. After a preliminary consideration of the synthesized report by the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline on 01 November 2022, a meeting was convened between the Bureau, the Chairpersons of the Regional Caucuses and the Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline to further harmonize the areas of divergence by the Regional Caucuses. Members were assisted in the process by a team of legal experts with affiliations in various capacities at national parliaments, supra-national-parliaments and other legislative institutions across the continent. A representative from the AU Office of the Legal Counsel was also present (emphasis added).

It is important to note that in the course of these deliberations, the entire Rules of Procedure consisting of 94 provisions were considered by all relevant stakeholders including the Regional Caucuses. From the analysis, a consensus was reached between all the Regional Caucuses on eighty two (82) of the ninety four (94) Rules of Procedure. This translated to an agreement rate of 87%. There were minor differences on seven (7) Rules of Procedure. There were nine (9) material differences which translated to 9.5%. This prompted further meetings of the Regional Caucuses to try to reconcile the differences. A meeting of the Committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline was also convened to receive a report of the positions of various Regional Caucuses in respect of the various areas of disagreement. This was then followed by a meeting between the Bureau, the Chairpersons of the Regional Caucuses and the Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline to further harmonize the areas of divergence by the Regional Caucuses in their represented capacity for the regions. After further meetings by the Regional Caucuses, reconsiderations of initial positions were made and there emerged a consensus by all the Regional Caucuses on the broad principles to amend the Rules in a spirit of collegiality.

In the course of their respective Regional Caucus deliberations, members noted that there are different constitutional parliamentary practices and arrangements in Member States in relation to dissolution arising out of electoral processes. In some jurisdictions, Parliaments are dissolved three (3) months prior to elections and in other jurisdictions, dissolution do not occur. In other instances, Parliamentarians retain their competencies until another Parliamentarian elected in their place is sworn in. This created conflicting circumstances with potential conflicting interpretation as to when a Parliamentarian ceases to be a Member of Parliament.  It became imperative for institutional stability and continuity for the Pan-African Parliament to define certain concepts that underlie status, tenure and mandate of Members which is currently missing in the Rules of Procedure. This will not only avoid disruptions in the status of Members, it will also give practical application to those provisions in the Protocol and the Rules of Procedure that relate to the Status of Members of Parliament. The relevant provisions are encompassed in Article 12(8) of the Protocol and Rule 8(1) of the Rules of Procedure.  To give practical effect to the principles reflected in this governing instrument and particularly to the Protocol as it relates to tenure and mandate of members, there arose a need to provide definitions to key areas such as: “ceases to be a member” as provided in Rule 8 (1) (e) of the rules of procedure and Article 12 (8) (e) of the Protocol as well as the definition of the term “Vacancy” as contemplated in the provisions of Rule 8 (5) and other relevant areas of the rules of procedure. Accordingly, the following recommended definitions were provided to the Regional Caucuses and was accepted:

“Ceases to be a Member” arises when notification is received by Parliament from the National Parliament or other deliberative organ that a Member has not been re-elected or re-designated to the Parliament following elections in a Member State   or as prescribed by Rule 8(1) of the Rules of Procedure.

“Returning Member” means a Member who has been re-elected or re-designated by a National Parliament or other deliberative organ of the Member State;

“Vacancy” occurs when a Member has not been re-elected or re-designated by the National Parliament or other deliberative organ of a Member State to the Parliament   or as prescribed by Rule 8(1) of the Rules of Procedure.

In adopting the definition of “ceases to be a member” and “vacancy” it was noted that when national parliaments are dissolved, parliamentarians still retained their competences and continue to receive their salaries till replacements are elected and sworn in. It is only when replacements are elected and sworn that old member loses his or her seat.

Also, Rule 6.5 which was not amended, states that: "Where the National Parliament or any other deliberative organ of a Member State notifies the Clerk that the status of the elected or designated Member has become incompatible with membership of Parliament, the Clerk shall notify the Bureau and the President shall declare before the House that the membership of the person has been terminated.” This confirms that it is the National Parliament of the Member State which designates the country delegation that should communicate to Clerk of PAP before vacancy can be declared. So the new definitions merely amplified what is already in the Rules of Procedure.

The Five Regional Caucuses of the Pan-African Parliament met during the week ending 28 October 2022 to consider the additional proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure relating to the composition of the Permanent Committees of the Pan African Parliament.  From the submissions by the Regional Caucuses relating to Rule 22 of the Rules of Procedure, there was agreement that the number of permanent committees should be increased from the current eleven (11) to fifteen (15).

The Parliament convened in plenary on Friday 04 November 2022 to pass the amendments to the Rules of Procedure and I will now reproduce verbatim, the various contributions by members that led to the adoption of an Amended Rules of Procedure.

It is therefore evident from the above and the record of Proceedings that the process that culminated in the adoption of the Amended was not hurried but consultative and deliberative as decentralizing it to the Regional Caucuses gave the opportunity for meaningful participation by all the parliamentarians. Additionally, the amendment of the rules was mandated by the policy organs of the AU.

Record of proceedings of 04 November 2022

A review of the Record of Proceedings of the 04 November 2022 when the Amended Rules of Procedure was adopted shows clearly that no Parliamentarian objected to the adoption of the Rules. The process began with a speech by Hon. Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (Ghana):

 “Mr. President, permit me to suggest that because the Rules were subjected to our various caucuses, and we had the opportunity to add our inputs, which the Chair of the Rules has indicated as those that have been accepted and those that have not been accepted. If you try and open it to open comments, we may spend the whole day going back and forth.

I would want to suggest further that we have the regional caucus leaders that have led us through this. If we can hear them (the five) confirming what the Rules Chair said at an agreed point, then we can only be talking about where there is no complete agreement and that way, we will be narrowing the discussions to where there is disagreement and possibly see the argument others will bring on board. If we open the whole Rules to discussion, we never be able to get the head or tail. So, my suggestion is that if the House agrees let’s hear the five regional leaders. [Applause]

If we agree, then we concentrate. Thank you very much Mr. President.”

Following the unanimous adoption of this motion, the Chairpersons of the five Regional Caucuses were invited to publicly state the positions of the Caucuses, beginning with the Chairperson of the Southern Africa Caucus, Hon. Pemmy Castelina Pamela Majodina (Ms.):

“Thank you very much, Mr President, for the appreciation. Thank you, the Vice Presidents, Hon. Members of this august House and my regional chairpersons.

Mr President, as Southern Africa, we rise here with our shoulders very high in appreciating the breakthrough with the peace talks in Ethiopia that were signed yesterday. (Applause)

The Southern Regional Caucus welcomes and accepts processes that we have collectively undertaken as an august House to amend our Rules of Procedures. It was during our committee sitting in August this year 2022, when we did our self-introspection and came to the conclusion that Pan-African Parliament was still far from where it is supposed to be compared to other continental parliaments. In fact, we are even lagging behind other regional parliaments in our continent, such as ECOWAS and the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA). This situation is an anomaly, as it should be the other way round. The Pan-African Parliament as the Continental Parliament and the Legislative Organ of the AU should be a source of knowledge and a fountain from which the regional parliament bodies drink.

In fact, this regional parliament bodies and national parliaments should undertake study tours to come and learn good practices from this organ of the AU.

Unfortunately, despite 18 years of existence as PAP, we are not yet at the level where we inspire confidence to other continental bodies to learn from us.

Mr President, to put it bluntly, we have been regressing for years. We must seize this good, glorious opportunities to go back to where we belong. Let us take our rightful place to avoid being harshly judged by history.

It is on this basis of this self-introspection, honestly, and an in-depth analysis that during our committee sittings in August this year, we held a strategic re-orientation workshop for Members of the Pan-African Parliament under the theme: “Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning, Re-invigorating the Pan-African Parliament”.

It is during this workshop that we unanimously identified the amendment of our Rules of Procedure as a key priority area that we must undertake in our quest to revive, renew, reposition, and refocus PAP.

On this basis, consensus has been reached by us, as Regional Chairpersons and we are quite aware that it is not about us, but we want to live a very positive legacy for those who are going to succeed us in this PAP. It is our time to ensure that we swallow our pride and put Africa as a continent in the priority.

As the Regional Caucuses Chairpersons, we have been given a fair opportunity since our arrival in this Session to meet with members of our caucuses to discuss and make inputs. We have reached consensus because it was good for us to do that. We had to be politically matured and politically tolerant of one another and be acceptive of one another.

Mr President, based on the above, we the Southern Regional Caucus support the proposed amendment of PAP Rules of Procedures because we were consulted. We were given opportunity to make our input. We believe the process was fair, transparent and extremely consultative.

In conclusion, You Excellency, Mr President, the Vice Presidents and Hon. Members, it is, after all, within the ambit of Parliament to make its own rules. We have a right as this PAP to come up with our own rules. We, therefore, submit as the Southern Region that we are unanimous in agreeing with the amendments as per the Report that was tabled here.

Thank you, very much.(Applause)

Hon. Alhagie Mbow (Chairperson Of Western Africa Caucus):

“Thank you very much, Mr President. I salute all the Members that are here today, particularly the Vice Presidents.

I am here on behalf of the West African Caucus to confirm that the Report that was laid by the Chairperson of the Rules Committee is factual, and we are in agreement.

Mr President, I think this has demonstrated that we are building an institution. To build any institution, I think it is important that we show maturity, professionalism and above all, team spirit. These amendments we have done, today, have shown just that.

We are here from different countries and it is important that we owe it to the African Continent to ensure that we work together if we want to move into the future. We do not have any option but to work together as nations.

Mr President, this is an all-inclusive consultation. Let’s remember that these rules came from the Caucuses and not from the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee just arranged and managed the entire process but every single rule, from Rule 1, all the way to Rule 94 came from the regional caucuses and we are very grateful. (Applause)

We are grateful because of the togetherness, and we are also grateful for the support that is given by the President and the Vice Presidents to ensure that we are going to make history today. We are going to make history because we have attempted several times to change the Rules, but it has not worked. Today, with the Leadership we have, I think they have given us the right support in order for us to work together as one people and one Africa. (Applause)

We have also seen that the issues that divide us are limited and we should concentrate on the areas that put us together as one Continent and one Nation. We have seen that we are not talking anything about Francophone, Anglophone, Arabophone or Lusophone. What we need to be talking about is Africa as one people with one voice. I urge all of us, today, to ensure that we pass these amendments.

Mr President, finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank the West African Caucus for the trust they have in me to ensure that I work with my colleagues to arrive at these conclusions.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

Hon. Terrence Mondon (Chairperson Of Eastern Africa Caucus):

“Mr. President, Vice-Presidents and Hon. Members, I would like to confirm as well that the proposed amendments reflect a true picture of what we discussed and agreed upon at the Regional Caucus level to the Chairperson of Caucuses meeting. I would like to really appreciate the involvement of Hon. Members in this exercise. It is the participatory approach which provide the sense of belonging. It is our rules, and we are pleased for the opportunity to participate fully in the exercise. It is not perfect, of course, and it reflects the views of the majority members of the same caucus. The provisions also reflect the new working environment and guiding tools for the transformation of our institution. The principles of equal opportunity and participation are well provided for in the proposed amendments and it is in line with our Constitutive Act as well as the Protocol on the Treaties establishing the economic community relating to the Pan-African Parliament.

The rules are clearer, and they will help Hon. Members to work better in the future. I really appreciate the team spirit which was manifested throughout the process and must be commended. From the discussions at caucus level to our discussions at the Chairpersons of Caucuses level, the spirit of teamwork was exhibited. We moved from divergent views to almost 100 per cent agreements, therefore we have done a very good job and we have progressed. The only provision where we slightly differ is the mandate of the committees. In our views as the Eastern Caucus, the mandates of the Committees on Gender and Family, Youths and Sport and People with Disability are heavy. We are, therefore, proposing that the Committee on Youth and Sports should be added to the Committee on Health should add sport and youth to its committee. We also agreed on fifteen committees as that will give equal positions in the committees for all regions, and it will help in more effective delivery.”

Hon. Azzedine Abdelmajid (Chairperson Of The North Africa Regional Caucus) (Translated from French):

“Good day Mr. President, Good day my dear colleagues;With regard to the work that has been done by the North Africa Caucus, we have, as I said here, divided it into two parts. There was a “methodology” part, a kind of “preamble” where were discussedthe conceptual lighting, the philosophy of Rules of Procedures, what areRules of procedures, their role.

The Rules of Procedures, as we discussed at the level of our Caucus, are a living mechanism. It is not a neutral mechanism. So, it was first necessary to discuss the principles that guide action to arrive at Rules of Procedures linked to consensus. The second part was that of the proposals concerning the insufficiencies, also the contradictions, the omissions and therefore, we started article by article. The debate was very rich between us. Very remarkable proposals have been made. Thus, we have already reached a consensus at the level of our Caucus. The second work that was done, that is to say our contribution, was at the level of the meeting of the Caucus Chairpersons with the members of the Bureau and the President. It was intense.

We were subjected to an infernal pace. We were summoned, sometimes for ten minutes and we stayed for three hours. But, it was very enriching and it had to be done, it was done. So, we reached a consensus across the entire Caucus. And the last consensus took place just now when everything was done. Therefore, I will not repeat what was said by my colleagues. I am simply saying that we agree on the work that has been done, on the results, on the Rules of Procedure which have just been completed. There you have it, Mr. President, we are in complete agreement.” [Applause in the room]

Hon. Jaynet Kabila [Chairperson Of The Central Africa Regional Caucus] (Translated from French):

“Honorable President, Honorable Vice-Presidents. I would like, first of all, to thank you for your availability in this exercise that we have just completed today. I also thank the Secretary General, Gali Massa Harou, who also accompanied us. I would specifically like to thank each Caucus Chair:

- the Honorable Terrence Mondon of the East Africa Caucus,

- the Honorable Azzeddine Abdelmadjid of the North Africa Caucus,

- the Honorable Pemmy Pamela Majodina of the Southern Africa Caucus,

- and the Honorable Alhagie Mbow from the West Africa Caucus.

 Because we worked well collaboratively, which allowed us to reach consensus, I would like to sincerely thank the members of my Central Africa Regional Caucus for their diligent presence each time we have had meetings of our Caucus, and why not for their sense of responsibility. This is what allowed us to reach a consensus, because there were, of course, differences, but because we work for Africa and we talk about ʺOne Africa, One Voiceʺ. I would also like to thank them because I think that has been said by almost all the caucus chairs who have gone before me. I would also like to thank our experts who guided and assisted us in the elaboration of the draft document on the Rules of Procedure that you have at your disposal. I think everyone received it. What can we say? We presented our report here.

Before, we worked in the caucuses with the other presidents. We have reached an agreement and I would like to reassure you that we have reached an agreement on the basis of what is provided for in the Protocol in force and also in the Rules of Procedure, that is to say that we have not gone beyond what is provided for in the fundamental texts which govern our Institution. Also, I would like to say that there are a few points that remain and which mainly concern Committees. We agreed on the main points. You know, long before it was submitted to us. What remains is the composition, restructuring or reconfiguration of the Committees. There, we agreed that we will also work together to achieve fifteen permanent Committees. Finally, I would like to say yes that the Central Africa Caucus agrees with the report that our Chairman of the Standing Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline presented here. If there are other things apart from that, we accepted at the meeting this morning, that we will agree on that. But for most of the main issues, we have agreed and there is no problem. We accept this report and I say so on behalf of the Central Africa Regional Caucus. Thank you.” (Applause).

(CHAIRPERSON OF THE WOMEN’S CAUCUS)(Translated from Arabic):

“Thank you Mr President for giving me the floor

I believe that the Chairpersons of the regional Caucuses have explained to us how were the consultations and the debates. Since we arrived to the Pan-African Parliament, many meetings were held regarding the Rules of Procedures and we all took part in them and all the remarks and observations expressed by MPs were taken into account. Therefore and from what was explained by the Chairpersons of regional Caucuses, I request from all the MPs to adopt these Rules of Procedures which are in the interest of all the Parliamentarians and in the interest of Africa. I thank you;

As a result of the submissions made by the Chairpersons of the five Regional Caucuses, Hon. Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (Ghana) then moved a motion for the adoption of the Rules:

“Thank you Mr. President. Having heard from our regional caucuses who have represented us and given us an opportunity in our caucuses to go through all the items and have agreed with the rules as read; I beg to move the Motion that these amended rules be adopted as a true reflection of all the amendments that all of us sitting here in the Chamber, have agreed to.” (Applause)

Hon. Dr Mathole Motshekga (South Africa) seconded the motion by Hon. Muntaka :

“Mr. President, with all due respect, in seconding Hon. Muntaka, I want to say that history has been made today because the manner in which this process was managed confirmed the African approach of consensual rather than adversarial politics. (Applause)

I want to propose that in future, we must move away from the Western approach of saying that we put everything to vote and we engage until we reach consensus as we did today. Congratulations, Mr President, on having guided us in that direction and congratulations also to the chairpersons of the caucuses on ensuring that their members participate, and that the standing committees, as well, take cues from their caucuses. That is African participatory democracy. We must internalize it and take it into the future.”

Hon. Thembekile Richard Majola (Chairperson, Committee On Rules, Privileges And Discipline) was then invited by the President to move the motion for the adoption of the amended rules, seconded by Hon. Paulin Gbenou [Benin].


It is therefore regrettable that a few of the PAP members who were part and parcel of the amendment process and participated in the deliberations in their various caucuses as well the plenary session where the amendments were adopted, are now raising issues about the amended rules due to political considerations and exigencies. The urge to create a vacancy for another round of contestations, will adversely affect the image of PAP as an unstable institution more so, at a time that when the African Union has been invited to be a member of the G-20.

The allegation that some provisions were altered after passage does not hold water because every member on 04 November 2022 had a copy of the amended rule. That was why Hon. Muntaka in his motion, said “I beg to move the Motion that these amended rules be adopted as a true reflection of all the amendments that all of us sitting here in the Chamber, have agreed to.” Noteworthy also is the fact that the Chair of the Committee on Rules, Privileges, Ethics and Discipline, Hon. Majola, in moving his motion, acknowledged the assistance of a representative from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) who was also seated in chambers and had her copy of the amended rules. Equally important is the fact that after the amended rules were translated into the five AU languages, and copies sent to the OLC.

The involvement of the OLC was to ensure that the decisions of the policy organs of the AU on the issue of rotation, were incorporated into the Rules and since no adverse report was received from the OLC after more than seven (7) months, it will therefore be reasonable to conclude that there were no objectionable provisions in the amended rules.

In any case, if any member feels that there are provisions that need to be further reviewed, there are robust provisions in Rules 92 and 93 on how to go about them. But to see the rule from the perspective of actualizing a narrow political interest and hold the hold parliament to ransom leaves much to be desired especially in this era of unconstitutional changes of governments in Africa. PAP must not be allowed to slip into crisis and risk being shut down again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of African Parliamentary News