The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is an organ of the African Union (AU), which was established to ensure that Africa takes full ownership and participation in the development and sustainable transformation of the continent. PAP essentially operates in a consultative and advisory role mandated by the African Union.The Centre for Human Rights established a partnership with PAP through a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed on 27 October 2017. Key among the objectives of the partnership are the promotion of capacity building on human rights and democratisation in Africa, the increased visibility of PAP and the fostering of a strong interaction between PAP and Civil Society Organisations on the continent.
PAP opened its Sixth Ordinary Session of the fourth Parliament on 7 May 2018 at its secretariat in Midrand, South Africa. The opening ceremony was conducted under the theme: “Winning the fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s transformation”.
Students on the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme were among the guests at the opening of PAP. The Centre for Human Rights aims to develop talented emerging leaders in academia and society to change the trajectory of Africa and claim autonomy in Africa’s development.
PAP has 255 members representing 55 AU members. 53 Member states were present at the opening ceremony and 80 new delegates from various African countries were sworn in as new members of PAP. This included the Kingdom of Morocco whose preventatives were sworn in for the first time as members of PAP. Among the 80 delegates sworn in as new members of PAP, 5 were from South Africa. The new members are: ‘Commander-In-Chief’ of the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) Honourable Julius Malema; Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Honourable Thandi Modise: Late President Nelson Mandela’s grandson and the chief of the Mveso Traditional Council Honourable Mandla Mandela; Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Honourable Santosh Vinita; and National Assembly House Chairperson Honourable Thoko Didiza. The new members pledged to uphold the principles of the AU, which include democracy, human rights, peace and stability, good governance and to preserve the constitutive act of the African Union.
The President of PAP Honourable Roger Nkodo Dang addressed the house. Among some of the key critical issues that the President touched on relates to Africa’s development and the revitalisation of PAP’s relations with development partners. The President made an emphasis on the visibility of PAP and it was abundantly clear that his aim is to ensure that PAP is a well-known, recognised body and organ of the AU. The President further highlighted the following thematic issues:
Free movement of persons across the continent
Good governance and sustainable development
Transparency as an absolute standard for management of public affairs
Africa’s Free-trade era
“Attending PAP’s opening ceremony was a golden opportunity for me, what stood out for me was the speech delivered by African Union Commission’s president.His speech illuminated on the challenges that PAP is facing and also emphasised the need to have cooperation between all the organs of the AU”
Obowongi Jonathan | Kenya
“The frustration in the chamber for lack of legislative power was evident among members of Parliament.
However, there was a strong sense of hope in the house, that perhaps with the swearing in of new members the Molabo protocol may be rectified allowing parliament to have legislative powers”
Reshoketswe Mapokgoole | South Africa