PAP Regional Caucus Chairpersons express concern over continued violation of Protocol and Rules of Procedure - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

PAP Regional Caucus Chairpersons express concern over continued violation of Protocol and Rules of Procedure

The Caucus Chairpersons of the five Regional Caucuses in the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) have expressed serious concern over what they described as the continued violation of the PAP Protocol and Rules of Procedure by the 2nd Vice President of PAP, Hon. Dr. Ashebir W. Gayo.

This was contained in a letter to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat dated 19 December 2023 with reference PAP/REGCAU/07/12-23 and signed by all the five regional 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, in which they drew Moussa Faki Mahamat’s attention to the sustained defilement of Commission’s directives, the PAP Protocol, the PAP Rules of Procedure and the tenets of good corporate governance by the 2nd Vice President Hon. Dr. Ashebir W. Gayo.

The letter recalled that on the 18 October 2023, the AUC Chairperson had dispatched a memo to the Clerk of the Pan-African Parliament, Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo advising of the interim arrangements for the continued operation of the PAP pending the finalization of the mission of the Task Force that had been appointed to enquire into the challenges at the PAP. The said memo clarified that:

i.                    “The current membership of the Bureau, comprising the 2nd and 3rd Vice Presidents, does not have the requisite quorum and, accordingly, cannot make binding administrative, financial and management decisions on the affairs and facilities of PAP and its Organs until the Bureau has the appropriate quorum;”

ii.                  “Any such decisions taken by the inquorate Bureau should be considered invalid and cannot be implemented to safeguard the African Union from potential liability;”

iii.                “Pending the finalization of the mission and the resultant transitional measures to be proposed, the Clerk of the Pan-African Parliament Secretariat was authorized to take administrative, financial and management decisions subject, where appropriate, to the approval of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.”

The letter regretted that the above directives have been consistently disregarded by the 2nd Vice President as demonstrated by the actions and unilateral decisions that he has taken prior to and afer the issuance of the said 18 October 2023 AUC memo and include:

1.                  “Suspended the Clerk of the Parliament, Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo for refusing to implement the unlawful directives issued by Hon. Dr. Gayo. He also barred her from the precincts of the PAP and has refused to reinstate her despite the said AUC directive. Such unlawful conduct and administratve action create potential legal and reputational risks and liabilities for the Union;

2.                  “Dismissed the Director of the Bureau and the Policy Officer in flagrant disregard of procedure and has appointed a temporary Director of the Bureau and Policy Officer which an Acting President is not entitled to;

3.                  “Undermined the authority of the Task Force and by extension, the Chairperson of the Commission by barring the Task Force from the precincts of the Pan-African Parliament during its fact-finding mission to the PAP for refusing to comply with his directive not to interview the Clerk, Regional Caucus Chairpersons and Members of the Bureau;

4.                  “Appointed the Chairperson of the Committee on Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA), Hon. Miles Sampa as Chairperson of APROB, a position exclusively reserved for Bureau Members. This appointmenmt violates the principles of good corporate governance and separation of responsibilities as CAPA is supposed to audit the activities of APROB;

5.                  “Convened Committee Meetings in three different countries namely Ethiopia, South Africa, and Burundi from 20th to 24th November 2023 without a Bureau Resolution;

6.                  “Unilaterally convened the Women’s Conference from 26th to 27th December 2023 in the absence of a fully quorate Bureau and during the festive period when most Parliaments will be on recess; and

7.                  “Scheduled a Virtual Meeting on 28th December to discuss the Draft Code of Conduct for by-election to fill in “vacant” positions on the Bureau and is planning to convene a virtual elective session on 7th January 2024. It is instructive to note that neither the PAP Protocol nor the Rules of Procedure (2011) provide for election for returning Bureau Members. These two legal instruments also do not have a provision for virtual sessions. In this regard, therefore, the planned convening of a virtual meeting is unprocedural and no legal obligations arise from such an illegality. Virtual sittings were codified in the Amended Rules of Procedure (2022) which Your Excellency suspended.”

The Regional Caucus Chairpersons noted with grave concern, that all the decisions made by the 2nd Vice President, Hon. Dr. Gayo acting as a “sole” Bureau Member and in clear violation of the Commission’s directives, “bring into serious disrepute, the credibility and good name of the African Union and its various organs. The abiding principles of transparency, accountability, and responsible governance have been seriously compromised by such actions. The damage to the Union cannot be enumerated as we continue to field questions from the citizenry, stakeholders, partners and even our national Parliaments on the situation at PAP which we do not have the right answers and/ or explanations for.”

“Additionally, the 2nd Vice President’s actions undermine the process Your Excellency had initiated to resolve the situation at PAP through the Task Force which is yet to complete its mission. As Regional Caucus Chairpersons, though we may have our misgivings, yet we respect the process that Your Excellency has conceptualized and are awaiting the outcome of the Task Force’s fact-finding mission.”


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