PAP dragged to South African Court over Bureau election - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



memfys hospital Enugu

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

PAP dragged to South African Court over Bureau election

A member of Botswana delegation to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Hon. Christian Greeff has dragged the Clerk of the PAP, Ms Lindiwe Khumalo and the Chairperson of the Southern Region Caucus, Hon. Pemmy Majodina to court seeking to interdict them from proceeding with the Extraordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament scheduled to take place from the 20th to the 27th of March, 2024. He also wants the Court to direct the Southern Region Caucus of the PAP to hold meeting for the purpose of nominating presidential candidate before new members of the Parliament are sworn in.

The suit was filed on 19 March 2024 in the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division and served on the respondents the same date and indicated that the applicant would move the Court to grant the prayers today March 20.

The suit is seen as a proxy legal action by one of the presidential candidates from Zambia, Hon. Miles Sampa who is the intended beneficiary of the reliefs sought in the legal action.

Pundits recall that the procedure for the nomination of candidates being contested by Hon. Greeff has been used in all the previous elections since the inception of the parliament in 2004 and is consistent with the provisions of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. One therefore wonders why someone would insist on a new procedure to make it possible for him to secure nomination. “Anyone who is afraid of heat should stay out of the kitchen” quipped a parliamentarian.  Another parliamentarian who was angered by the move, promised that “PAP MPs will punish Hon. Sampa” for the move.

It would be recalled that Hon. Greeff was one of the ten (10) members of the Southern Region Caucus of the Parliament who forwarded a petition to the Chairperson of the Region, Hon. Pemmy Majodina demanding that the region must hold meeting to nominate candidate for president before new members are sworn in.

In her response, Hon. Majodina reminded them that the Southern Region consisted of 50 parliamentarians out of which only ten (10) members signed the demand for meeting. She also reminded them that the subject matter of the complaint was previously raised and comprehensively addressed during the Consultative Meeting between the Southern Regional Caucus and the Bureau and that it was concluded that consistent with the PAP Rules of Procedure (2011), established practice and procedure, the announcement of meetings of the respective Regional Caucuses will be made after the opening formalities of the Extra-ordinary Session.

”It is precisely for this reason that no other region has convened a meeting before the opening day of the session which is March 20th, notwithstanding the fact that vacancies were declared in the offices of the President (Southern Region), First Vice President (Northern Region) and Fourth Vice President (Central Region). It is, therefore, important to emphasize that the Southern Region is just but one among the five regional caucuses at PAP and the Rules of Procedure have uniform application. The Southern Region Caucus cannot be the exception to the rule” wrote Hon. Majodina.

Meanwhile, the Northern Region which is expected to nominate two candidates for the position of the First Vice President has resolved to allow the incumbent First Vice President, Hon. Prof Messouda (Mrs.) to complete her three year tenure so that the position would thereafter rotate to another country in the spirit of intra-regional rotation. Prof Messouda will also be sworn in before the election. The Central Region which is also expected to nominate two candidates for position of Fourth Vice President has not made any demand to hold meeting to nominate candidates before new members are sworn in.

Pundits note that the legal action demonstrates a pattern and tendency to avoid proper democratic process in the plot to force a regional primary before the commencement of Plenary and before the incumbent Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira is sworn in. “It clearly shows weakness which is a result of his (Sampa’s) inexperience at PAP having been elected as a member of PAP in 2021” said a parliamentarian. He stated that the Southern Region should have taken a cue from the Northern Region by allowing the incumbent to complete the three year tenure which started on 29 June 2022. “We need to put a stop to leadership crisis and resultant instability at PAP” he added.

“Someone who became a member of PAP in May 2021, and since parliamentary activities were suspended immediately after his swearing in, PAP did not meet again till June 2022 and it was in August 2022, less than two months later and without the benefit of participating fully in any plenary session of the PAP, was made Chairperson of the powerful Committee on Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA) without cognate legislative experience at the continental parliament. This implies that between the time that Hon. Sampa became a PAP member in May 2021 and the extraordinary session scheduled for March 20 to 27, he had only participated in two plenary sessions of the PAP (October 2022 and May 2023). And with that limited experience at PAP, he wants to desperately become president, forgetting that parliaments globally operate on the basis ranking” said the parliamentarian who spoke to our correspondent.

Other members of the PAP who spoke to our correspondent, expressed surprise that the legal action was taken notwithstanding the status of PAP as a diplomatic institution, noting that no experienced member of PAP would have allowed his or her name to associated with such a frivolous venture.

This is because, Article 8.1 of the PAP Protocol states that “The Pan-African Parliamentarians, while exercising their functions, shall enjoy in the territory of each Member State the immunities and privileges extended to representatives of Member States under the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the OAU and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”.

Furthermore, Article 9.1 of the Protocol states that “The Pan-African Parliamentarians shall enjoy parliamentary immunity in each Member State. Accordingly, a member of the Pan-African Parliament shall not be liable to civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment or damages for what is said or done by him or her within or outside the Pan-African Parliament in his or her capacity as a member of Parliament in the discharge of his or her duties.”

With respect to the status of the Clerk of the Parliament, she is protected by the African Union Staff Regulations and Rules adopted by the Assembly of the Union at its Fifteenth Ordinary Session 25 - 27 July 2010 Kampala, Uganda Assembly/AU/4(XV) which provides that Staff members of the Union shall enjoy immunities and privileges as provided for in the relevant international and regional conventions which shall include and not limited to the General Convention on privileges and immunities of the AU and the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The AU Staff Rules and Regulations also provide that staff members, regardless of their nationalities and citizenship, shall be entitled, in the territory of any Member State of the Union including the Headquarters and host country of their duty station, to immunities as defined and contained in the OAU General Convention on Privileges and Immunities; Headquarters and Host Agreements; and such other Agreements that may be concluded by the Union and host countries.


1 comment:

  1. Rather than advancing the pap agenda the same bureau MPs have all wasted years & needed Africa resources fighting themselves. After the election, they'd continue the fight again. Sad Africa! Idiot conniving journalist paid to fan the flame but will certainly pay the price with time!


Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of African Parliamentary News