PAP Crisis: Regional Caucus Chairpersons seek urgent intervention of AU policy organs - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

PAP Crisis: Regional Caucus Chairpersons seek urgent intervention of AU policy organs

Azali Assoumani, Chairperson, AU Assembly

The Regional Caucus Chairpersons of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) have requested for an urgent meeting with the Bureau of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) to stem the continued deterioration and paralysis of the functioning of the continental Parliament occasioned by the suspension of the Amended Rules of Procedure, adopted on 4 November 2022.

In a letter addressed to the Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee, H. E. Ambassador Assoumani Mondoha dated 14 November 2023 with reference PAP/OC/01/11-23, the Chairpersons namely Hon. Alhagie Mbow, Western Caucus Chairperson; Hon. Pemmy Majodina, Southern Caucus Chairperson; Hon. Jaynet Kabila, Central Caucus Chairperson;  Hon. Terrence Mondon, Eastern Caucus Chairperson, and Hon. Abdelmajid Azzedine, Northern Caucus Chairperson, recalled that pursuant to the “directive of the Executive Council via Decision EX.CL/1364(XLI) of July 2020, which directed the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to “urgently review the Rules of Procedure to ensure alignment with African Union values, rules and regulations as well as established practices of the Union, including the principle of geographical rotation”, the Parliament proceeded to amend its Rules of Procedure which were consensually adopted by the PAP plenary on November 4, 2022 according to Rule 55 and 56 of its Rules of Procedure as revised in 2011”.

They posited that the amendments to the Rules were in essence, consequential amendments, which give practical effect to the principle of rotation that was adopted and applied by the Parliament in line with the Executive Council and Assembly directives.

“On Friday 6th October 2023, the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, His Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, dispatched a Memo to the Pan African Parliament (PAP), Ref: CCP/O/676/10.23, that suspended the Rules of Procedure of the PAP as amended on 4th November 2022. The Memo based the suspension of the amended Rules on the fact that a legal opinion from the Office of the Legal Counsel advised that the Rules as so amended violated the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan African Parliament (hereinafter referred to as the PAP Protocol). The legal opinion given was in response to a letter that the AU Chairperson had received from some members of the PAP who had lodged a complaint on such discrepancies. His Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat further stated in the communication to PAP that he had instructed a Taskforce to undertake a fact-finding mission to the Pan African Parliament in order to shed light on the crisis at PAP and present a report on the same that will be presented to the upcoming sessions of AU policy organs in February 2024.”

“Since the reception of the Memo of His Excellency, the AUC Chairperson, on the suspension of the Rules as amended, chaos ensued among the Bureau Members in terms of governance and decision-making procedures that has plundered the 3rd Organ of the AU into further turmoil. In addition to that, the PAP is not able to hold its session to discuss all these pertinent issues due to the financial constraints bedeviling the institution.”

According to the Chairpersons, the issues include:

i. Unilateral suspension of the Clerk of Parliament, Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo who was recruited following due processes and guidance from the AUC;

ii. Dismissal of Bureau staff and personnel;

iii. Declaration of vacancies in the Bureau through National Parliament platforms which can only be done in the plenary in accordance with Rule 8(5) of the PAP Rules of Procedure (2011);

iv. Lack of quorum of the Bureau as only 2 Bureau members have remained in post and one is often unable to travel as the issue of budgetary constraints is raised by the personnel concerned preventing her movement to assume duties at PAP. As a result, the PAP is exposed to indecent funding that violates the tenets of good corporate governance and the AU financial rules and principles.

“In view of the above, the PAP now lacks a sense of direction and unity. It is our sacred duty as Regional Caucus Chairpersons to bring this to your utmost attention and petition you to help us to find a way out of the labyrinth that the PAP finds itself in” they wrote.

The Regional Caucus Chairpersons therefore requested for a meeting with the PRC Bureau

at the earliest possible convenience so as to “initiate the processes that will enable all the important organs of the PAP to be heard and permit all the above issues to be tabled and resolved in a proper and adequate manner in compliance with established AU procedures.”

They also requested the PRC to urgently adopt and avail a Supplementary Budget to enable the PAP to convene a plenary session to deal with all the matters mentioned above as well as to specifically swear-in Members that are returning or have been newly designated to the continental parliament to serve the African people after elections in their respective countries and also fill in the vacancies according to established processes.

The Regional Caucus Chairpersons also requested for the “diligent involvement of the AU Assembly in matters relating to interpretation of the rules of procedure as dictated in Article 20 of the PAP protocol which states that, “The Court of Justice shall be seized with all matters of interpretation emanating from this Protocol. Pending its establishment, such matters shall be submitted to the Assembly which shall decide by a two-thirds majority” This is to stem as soon as possible, the continued deterioration and paralysis of the functioning of the continental Parliament.”

Our correspondent recalls that three of the Chairpersons, namely Hon. Alhagie Mbow, Western Caucus Chairperson; Hon. Pemmy Majodina, Southern Caucus Chairperson; and Hon. Abdelmajid Azzedine, Northern Caucus Chairperson had earlier sent individual complaints on the suspension of the Parliament’s Amended Rules of Procedure.

Established by Article 21 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the PRC which is composed of Permanent Representatives of Member States accredited to the African Union (AU), is charged with the responsibility of preparing the work of the Executive Council. It conducts the day-to-day business of the AU on behalf of the Assembly and the Executive Council, and prepares the work of the work of the Executive Council.

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