Hon. Majodina writes the AU over the suspension of PAP Rules of Procedure - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, November 6, 2023

Hon. Majodina writes the AU over the suspension of PAP Rules of Procedure

Chairperson of the Southern Region Caucus of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Hon. Pemmy Castelina Majodina has expressed concern over the 05 October 2023 memo by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H. E. Moussa Faki Mahamat advising the PAP Bureau of the suspension of the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament as amended on 04 November 2022 due to alleged incompatibilities with the PAP Protocol.

In a letter to the AUC Chairperson dated 14 October 2023 with reference number BUR/07/10-23, Hon. Majodina also expressed concern over the recognition of the 2nd Vice President, Hon. Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis Gayo as Acting President.

Hon. Majodina maintained that this recognition, violates Article 12(7) of the PAP Protocol, read together with Rule 19 of the PAP Rules of Procedure, has further deepened the crisis at PAP by emboldening Hon. Dr. Gayo to continue making unlawful decisions which violate the PAP Protocol and undermine the tenets of good corporate governance.

“In view of the foregoing, we believe it is urgent and imperative that Your Excellency facilitates the urgent convening of a PAP Plenary session which is the only way to bring an end to the current crisis. The prevailing status quo where a single Bureau Member is allowed to make unilateral decisions that reverse the decisions of the plenary, violate the PAP Protocol, undermine the tenets of good corporate governance and bring both the PAP and the Union into disrepute should not be allowed to continue”.   

She expressed the view that the amended Rules of Procedure do not violate Articles 5 and 12 of the PAP Protocol. “In fact, if anything, the amendments to the Rules of Procedure, particularly the definitions of “ceases to be a Member”, “vacancy”, and “Returning Member,” are consequential amendments that operationalize principle of geographical rotation.”

“In our humble opinion, if the amendments to the Rules violate the Protocol, in recognition of the authority granted solely to PAP to amend its Rules by Article 12(1) of the PAP Protocol, the amended Rules should have been referred back to PAP for recommittal and review instead of suspending the Rules which has far- reaching implications” she wrote.

Hon. Majodina who is also the ANC Chief Whip at the South African Parliament, expressed worry that without a clear indication of the offending clauses in the amended Rules that reportedly violate the PAP Protocol, PAP cannot effectively respond to his Memo.

“It is our considered opinion that the Memo should have been supported by the legal opinion to enable PAP to respond from an informed position as we remain convinced that the amendments do not violate the Protocol.”

According to her, the suspension of the amended Rules and reverting to the 2011 Rules subverts the principle of geographical rotation, which is not in the 2011 Rules.

“Your Excellency will recall that the argument by those who were fighting against the principle of rotation was that rotation was not in the PAP Rules and was, therefore, not binding on PAP. The decision thus plays into the hands of those fighting against rotation and subverts Executive Council and Assembly decisions which instructed the PAP to amend its Rules of Procedure to incorporate rotation.”

“Suspending the amended Rules creates an administrative crisis at the PAP relating to those Members who have already won elections in their home countries, been re- designated to PAP by their national Parliaments, and assumed their positions as “returning Members”. The repercussions go beyond them merely losing their seats but it potentially invalidates every decision that they have made in their respective positions.”

Hon. Majodina reminded the AUC Chairperson that when he requested a response from the PAP Bureau within 5 days of the receipt of the 21st August correspondence following allegations that the amended Rules violated the PAP Protocol, two responses emerged – one by Hon. Dr. Gayo acting alone and purporting to represent the whole Bureau, and the other by the four Bureau Members: Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira (PAP President), Hon. Professor Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf (1st Vice President), Hon. Lucia Maria Mendes Goncalves Dos Passos (3rd Vice President), and, Hon. Francois Ango Ndoutoume (4th Vice President).

 “The two responses, in and of themselves, demonstrated that there was a serious division in PAP which went beyond the mere interpretation of the amended Rules of Procedure.”

“This division and the underlying political agenda became apparent on the 23rd August 2023, when the 2nd Vice President, Hon. Dr. Gayo, pitched up at the PAP precincts unannounced, declared himself Acting President and began issuing unlawful directives to the Clerk of the Pan African Parliament to implement. These directives, which included declaring a vacancy in the position of President and 1st Vice President, attempting to dismiss the Bureau staff and appointing new staff, were unilaterally issued notwithstanding the fact that there had been no determination from your good office on the impasse regarding the amended Rules.”

“It is apparent to the entire membership of PAP, therefore, that the issue fronted by Hon. Dr. Gayo goes beyond the mere interpretation of the amended Rules of Procedure and whether or not the amendments violate the Protocol. While we acknowledge that Your Excellency’s Memo was intended to bring a temporary resolution to the crisis at PAP, we are also gravely concerned that Your Excellency’s decision may have been premised on inadequate information” she wrote.

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