PAP Bureau faces suspension over exclusion of First Vice President - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

PAP Bureau faces suspension over exclusion of First Vice President

The continued exclusion of the First Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Hon. Prof. Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf (Mrs.) from participating in the activities of the Bureau of PAP by the Second Vice President, Hon. Dr. Ashebir Gayo may soon result in an unintended consequence.

Hon. Dr. Gayo who pitched up at the precincts of the Parliament in Midrand, South Africa on 23 August 2023 and announced himself the Acting President, has since then, prevented the First Vice President from performing her duties, in order to maintain himself as the Acting President of the continental Parliament.

The President of the Parliament, H. E. Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira is currently on leave and the Fourth Vice President is out due to the suspension of Gabon from the African Union due to a coup in that country in August 2023. The continued exclusion of the First Vice President has thus reduced the number of Bureau members to two (2) all thanks to Hon. Dr. Gayo and his group.

As provided in Article 12.5 of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Protocol), The President and the Vice-Presidents shall be the Officers of the Pan-African Parliament. The officers, under the control and direction of the President and subject to such directives as may be issued by the Pan-African Parliament, shall be responsible for the management and administration of the affairs and facilities of the Pan-African Parliament and its organs.”

Thus the Bureau which is supposed to consist of five (5) officers, is now down to two officers courtesy of the ambition of Hon. Dr. Gayo to remain the Acting President of PAP.

However, for the Bureau to continue to function and be able to form a quorum to hold any valid meeting to conduct business where decisions can be taken, there must be at least three or more members in attendance. This means that even Hon. Dr. Gayo’s position in the Bureau is in serious jeopardy as the business of the Parliament could be handed over to the Clerk as the head of the Secretariat unless the First Vice President is urgently incorporated back to the Bureau.

In the eventual suspension of the activities of the Bureau and handing over the administration of the Parliament to the Clerk, one wonders how Hon. Dr. Gayo and his group who connived with African Union Commission (AUC) officials to interfere with the Parliament’s independence as guaranteed by both the Constitutive Act and PAP Protocol and put PAP into this needless crisis will be able to face their fellow parliamentarians when parliamentary activities resume.

So, unless urgent steps are taken to ensure the immediate resumption of the First Vice President Hon. Prof. Massouda Laghdaf, the Bureau, including Hon. Dr. Gayo himself, may have to step aside.

It would be recalled that the First Vice President. Hon. Prof. Massouda was screened along with the other members of the Mauritania delegation to the Pan-African Parliament by PAP’s Committee on Rules, Privileges, Ethics and Discipline, and subsequently sworn in during the Second Ordinary Session of PAP on 01 June 2023. She resumed her office thereafter amidst applause by members of the Parliament.

Having been screened and cleared by the appropriate parliamentary committee and having taken her oath before the plenary which the highest decision making body of the Parliament, she faces no other impediment that precludes her from continuing to perform the duties of her office as the First Vice President of PAP. A Bureau member’s ambition to become Acting President should not be allowed to destroy the Parliament.

Continuing to prevent her from resuming her office will occasion great harm to the Bureau which is supposed to be composed of the President and four (4) Vice Presidents representing the five regions of Africa.

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