Was the suspension of PAP Rules of Procedure based on a doctored document? - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, October 30, 2023

Was the suspension of PAP Rules of Procedure based on a doctored document?

There are indications that the decision of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H. E. Mr. Mahamat Faki to suspend the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), adopted on 04 November 2022 may have been based on an evaluation of a doctored document passed off as the adopted Rule.

Recall that in a letter to the Bureau of PAP dated 05 October 2023, Mr. Faki stated that the decision to suspend the PAP Rules of Procedure was based on a legal opinion which revealed “clear incompatibilities of the various provisions of the Revised Rules with the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament”.

However, investigation has revealed that a doctored version of the Rules of Procedure was intentionally passed off by the Second Vice President, Hon. Dr. Ashebir Gayo as an attachment to his complaint seeking to set aside the Rules in furtherance of his plot to be declared the Acting President of the Parliament. In other words, it was this doctored document that was declared incompatible with the PAP Protocol and not the adopted Rules.

According to information, Hon. Dr. Gayo first raised his complaint before the Bureau and when he failed, he presented it as a resolution of the Eastern Regional Caucus of the Parliament. When that failed, he then introduced it as a “Motion on the Amendments of the PAP’s Rules of Procedure” sponsored by Hon. Dr. Gayo himself as the intended beneficiary of the motion and seconded by Hon. Menyani Zulu. As with the previous attempts, the motion did not see the light of the day because the portion of the Rule quoted in his motion was not part of what the plenary adopted. Hon. Dr. Gayo thereafter submitted the same document which the organs of PAP had rejected, to the AUC Chairperson. He then turned around to submit a response on behalf of the Bureau, implying that he was both the complainant and respondent in the matter! Strangely it appears that the response by the majority of the members of the Bureau was not given meaningful consideration. This also raises conflict of interest concerns as Dr. Gayo did not declare his interest as the sole beneficiary of the complaint as required by the Rules of the Parliament.

Hon. Gayo’s complaint erroneously stated that:

“once a member goes for reelection in his or her home country, his or her position is held in abeyance until PAP is notified by the national Parliament within a period of 120 days and in case of a bureau member, his or her position shall be filled by the chairperson of the member's regional caucus until the electoral processes in the member state is concluded and such member remains competent to perform his or her functions when reelected; (Rule 8(6) and Rule 16 (14),(15) and (16) respectively) which is completely against the protocol”.

Obviously, Hon. Dr. Gayo Dr. Gayo, relied on versions of preliminary drafts and proposals of the Rules of Procedure developed as working document during the course of the deliberations and debates by the Regional Caucuses in drafting his motion. He did not indicate that those working documents were subsequently subjected to further review and amendments and were superseded by the language contained in the final amended Rules of Procedure unanimously adopted by the Pan African Parliament on 04 November 2022.

There were also other portions of the adopted rules that were missing in the document submitted for evaluation by Dr. Gayo. For example, the definition of certain terms such as “ceases to be a member”, “returning member”, and “vacancy” were curiously missing in an obvious attempt suppress relevant evidence thereby creating a false narrative. The document also contains provisions that are not part of the adopted Rules such as the following:

The doctored Rule 8(6) stated:

Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Rule;

(a) A declaration of a vacancy occasioned by the provisions of Sub

Rule (1) (e) and arising out of elections in a Member State shall be held in abeyance until the Parliament is notified by the National Parliament or other deliberative organ that the Member was not re-elected or re-designated; and

(b) The notification shall be within a period not exceeding one hundred and twenty (120) days.

However the actual adopted Rule 8(6) states: “Where a vacancy has been declared under the above-mentioned sub-Rule the Clerk shall notify the Member State or, in the case of a vacancy created under this Sub-Rule 1 (g), the concerned Member State”.

Another doctored portion of the motion is Rule 16(16):

In the event that the Member, under sub-Rule 15, is not re-elected or re-designated by his or her National Parliament or other deliberative organ, the position shall be filled from the Members’ Regional Caucus at a sitting of the Pan-African Parliament immediately following its occurrence and in accordance with the provisions of the principle of rotation.

However, there is no Rule 16(16) in the adopted Rule.

It is thus evident that what was relied on as basis for Hon. Dr. Gayo’s complaint was not part of the Rules of Procedure adopted by the plenary on 04 November 2022.

Under normal circumstances, when one wants to get a true copy of a parliamentary document, he or she would apply to the Clerk of the Parliament. So why was there no effort to obtain a true copy of what was adopted by the plenary from the Clerk of PAP?

Another disturbing aspect is the information from PAP Bureau that the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) sent a representative who was present during the deliberations including the day the amendment was adopted by the plenary. A copy of the adopted rule was also sent to the OLC in January 2023 and was reliably informed that PAP was commended for successfully amending her rules. How then can the same OLC accept to evaluate a different version of a document that has been in their possession and they did not realize it? How can the same OLC that had Okayed what the plenary adopted now turn around to advice of incompatibility with the PAP Protocol after more than nine months? Something definitely looks fishy!

It becomes even more curious when one notes that the letter suspending the PAP Rules was not specific as to the particular provision of the Rules that was claimed to have violated the PAP Protocol. And as is usually the case, why not suspend the specific provision of the Rules that is claimed to be in violation of the PAP Protocol? It is also curious that the same Task Force that was used to frustrate the implementation of the October 2021 Executive Council decision on rotation that the AUC Chairperson has now reactivated.

The credibility of the African Union as an institution which was established in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutive Act is at stake. The AUC Chairperson appear not to be taking necessary measures to strengthen the Parliament as an important organ of the Union and obviously has not ensured that PAP is capacitated and resourced to enable it discharge its mandate. Unnecessarily interfering in the internal affairs of PAP is inconsistent with the vision of the founders of the Union in establishing the parliament.


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