PAP Crisis: Parliamentarians reject Gayo’s arrangement for Virtual meeting - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

PAP Crisis: Parliamentarians reject Gayo’s arrangement for Virtual meeting

Members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) have dissociated themselves from the planned virtual meeting of the Parliament by the Second Vice President, Hon. Dr. Ashebir W. Gayo to discuss the modalities for election to offices in the Bureau for which vacancies were yet to be formally declared as provided in the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

It would be recalled that the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on 5 October 2023, wrote a letter suspending the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament adopted by the plenary on 04 November 2022 on the grounds of incompatibility with certain provisions of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Protocol). It is the suspended Rule that made provision for virtual meeting of the Parliament and the 2011 version has no provision for virtual meetings of the Parliament.

The AUC Chairperson's letter which failed to identify the specific provision deemed to have violated the PAP Protocol, stated that a report on the matter would be presented to the policy organs of the AU in February 2024. Since the Rules were only suspended as a temporary measure, the parliamentarians are wondering why Dr. Gayo is taking steps that would render as an exercise in futility, the eventual decision of the policy organs of the AU.

Pundits have noted that the issue raised in the AUC Chairperson's requires the interpretation of Article 5 of the Constitutive Act which lists the organs of the Union in hierarchical order and Article 17(2) of the Constitutive Act which states that the composition, powers, functions and organization of the Pan-African Parliament shall be defined in a Protocol relating thereto. Only the Assembly of Heads of State and Government pursuant to Article 26 of the Constitutive Act is for now, vested with the judicial powers of the Union to interpret the Constitutive Act by a two-thirds vote. The question is, has the Assembly delegated this authority to the AUC Chairperson and is the AUC Chairperson implying that his office is equivalent to two-third vote of members of the Assembly?

Another worrying aspect is that Articles 11(8) and 12(1) of the PAP Protocol gave the Parliament the power to adopt her Rules of Procedure which she did on 04 November 2022. Given that the Rules of Procedure is an internal working document of the Parliament, what business does the Chairperson of the Commission have with such an internal working document of the Parliament or has PAP become a department under the AUC contrary to the provisions of Article 5 of the Constitutive Act?

It is obvious that no provision of either the Constitutive Act or the PAP Protocol requires the Rules of Procedure adopted by the plenary to be vetted or approved by the AUC Chairperson. If any portion of the Rules was considered incompatible with the Protocol, it is for the Assembly to decide pursuant to Article 20 of the PAP Protocol. For the AUC Chairperson to appear to be aiding and abetting some parliamentarians who are contemptuous of the Assembly is most unfortunate.

A member of the Parliament who spoke to our correspondent said “But the Bureau, has no quorum for it to make such decisions if the letter from the AUC Legal Counsel is anything to go by. I can’t be part of illegal activities or meetings especially giving the legal opinion by the Office of Legal Counsel that the Bureau of the Parliament is inquorate to take any administrative or management decisions on behalf of the Parliament.

A member of staff who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity stated that a code of conduct that is aimed at installing Dr. Gayo as President is being worked on to be presented at the virtual meeting. The proposed code of conduct is an illegal way of getting around the requirements of the Rules of Procedure on the process of nominating candidates for election as members of the Bureau. The staff stated that the code of conduct has been confidentially kept to the point that “even the Third Vice President Hon. Lucia is not aware of its contents even as the only other member of the Bureau. Such a document is supposed to be prepared and presented by the Rules Committee but not with Dr. Gayo”.

Dr. Gayo’s game plan appears to be to make it impossible for both the Southern and Northern Caucuses to present candidates for the office of the President by insisting on consensus nomination by such regions so that the position will have to revert to the Eastern Region where he (Gayo) comes from so that he can then contest as a sole candidate. According to a parliamentarian, “this will make nonsense of the various Executive Council decisions on rotation as well as the modalities for the conduct of the 29 June 2022 Bureau election which the Executive Council directed to be included in the Rules of Procedure.” “Gayo has always been against rotation at PAP and unfortunately, the AUC Chairperson appear to be backing him to thumb his nose at the AU policy organs”, said another parliamentarian.

Our Correspondent received correspondences from the Chairpersons of the Northern and Western Regional Chairpersons advising their members against participation in Dr. Gayo’s illegal meetings. A prominent member of the Eastern Caucus has also written to members of the PAP from the region advising them against participating in Dr. Gayo’s illegally convened meeting. Similar boycott campaigns have also been mounted in the Southern and Central Regional Caucuses. There will definitely not be quorum for the planned meeting to hold, assured one of the parliamentarians. Those letters from the Western and Northern Regional Chairpersons are reproduced below:


Dear Honourable Members of Parliament:

Happy New Year to you all once again. I pray for this year and the years ahead provide all of us and our families peace and prosperity throughout the continent.
Just to give you an update of the situation at the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the chairperson of the AUC did setup a taskforce few months ago to probe into the issues at the PAP and chart the way forward. All the caucus chairpersons made a request to talk to the taskforce team about the issues and the way forward and that meeting was granted and held.  The taskforce did also meet with the Bureau and they will be coming up with a final report, which will be shared to all members.
In the interim, the self appointed acting president (Dr. Gayo) has suspended the Clerk of the Parliament unilaterally and fired the Director of the Bureau, convened meetings in three countries and all these actions are unlawful because he does not have the powers to do so. 
I have previously shared a letter from the Office of the Legal Counsel indicating the lack of quorum at the Bureau makes them ineligible to make “administrative, financial and other management decisions on the affairs and facilities of PAP and its organs until the Bureau has the appropriate quorum”.   I will be sharing this letter again in case you missed it.
The caucus chairpersons have also written to the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) of the African Union to formally lodge a complaint about the actions of the self appointed acting president.
Few days ago, we wrote another letter to the AUC Chairperson reminding him of the violations being done by Dr Gayo at the PAP and reminded him of the ramifications of his actions.
We are aware that Dr Gayo is also planning to have a virtual meeting to discuss issues relating to a code of conduct for elections when there is no vacancy at the PAP at this moment.  Please refer to your Rules of Procedure and you will realize that unless an elected official of the PAP is NOT redesignated to the PAP by his country, there is no vacancy.  Please be guided accordingly that all the actions of Dr Gayo whether financial or administrative are illegal and I urged you all to be mindful and to not allow yourselves into a mess.
Finally, the Dean of Ambassadors of the West African Region had planned to meet with us before Christmas but the meeting never held but I will follow up.  This was initiated by me as I have also written to him to lodge a complaint about the situation at the PAP.
Until then, I remain your servant.

Hon Alhagie Mbow

Chairperson, West African Caucus. 


Good day brothers and sisters, members of North caucus in PAP.
Happy New Year and I hope you are doing well.
Through this message, I would like to remind you that the AU Legal Counsel had issued a legal opinion stating that the current Bureau has no quorum and consequently any decision or action taken on behalf of the Bureau or by any of its members are null and cannot be implemented.
Unfortunately the second VP continues to violate this legal opinion.
We all know that the AUC chairperson has designated and sent a task force to PAP. This task force has drafted a report which the AUC Chairperson will submit to the EXCO next February.
We are for the return of PAP to legality and for this reason we have to wait for the results of the task force report and for the decisions of the AU policy Organs.
I thank you for your comprehension.

 Azeddine Abdelmajid

Chairperson of North Caucus.


Bonjour frères et soeurs, membres du Caucus du Nord du PAP.
Je vous souhaite une bonne et heureuse année et j’espère que vous allez tous bien.
A travers ce message, je voudrais vous rappeler que le Conseiller juridique de l’Union africaine avait émis un avis juridique indiquant que le Bureau actuel ne dispose pas de quorum et par conséquent toute décision ou action prise par le Bureau ou par l’un de ses membres est nulle et ne peut être mise en œuvre.
Malheureusement le 2e Vice-président continue a violer cet avis juridique.
Nous savons tous que le Président de la Commission de l’Union africaine a désigné et dépêché un groupe de travail au PAP. Ce groupe de travail a préparé un rapport que le Président de la Commission de l’Union africaine soumettra au Conseil exécutif en février prochain.
Nous sommes pour le retour du PAP a la légalité et pour cela il nous appartient d’attendre les résultats du rapport du groupe de travail et les décisions des Organes politiques de l’UA.
Je vous remercie pour votre compréhension.

Azeddine Abdelmajid

 Président du Caucus de l’Afrique du Nord. 


السلام عليكم ايها الاخوة والاخوات اعضاء مجموعة شمال افريقيا في البرلمان الافريقي.
عامكم سعيد ان شاء الله. اتمنى ان تكونوا كلكم بخير.
من خلال هذه الرسالة القصيرة، اود ان اذكركم بانه سبق لنا ان قلنا بان المستشار القانوني للاتحاد الافريقي كان قد اصدر رأيًا قانونيا جاء فيه ان هيئة مكتب البرلمان الافريقي لا تتوفر حاليا على النصاب القانوني وبالتالي فان كل قرارات واعمال تتخذ باسم هيئة المكتب او من احد اعضائها هي باطلة ولا يتم تنفيذها.
لكن مع الاسف لا زال النائب الثاني للرئيس مستمرا في مخالفة هذا الراي القانوني.
كلنا يعلم ان رئيس مفوضية الاتحاد الافريقي بعث فريق عمل الى البرلمان الافريقي واعد هذا الفريق تقريرا سيعرضه رئيس المفوضية على المجلس التنفيذي في شهر فبراير القادم.
نحن من دعاة العودة الى الشرعية وعليه ننتظر نتائج تقرير فريق العمل وقرارات الاجهزة السياسية للاتحاد الافريقي.
اشكركم على تفهمكم ويومكم سعيد.
اخوكم عز الدين عبد المجيد

رئيس مجموعة شمال افريقيا 

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