Midrand, South Africa – As the 8th Annual Conference of Speakers kicked off in Midrand, South Africa, the Speakers present called for closer collaboration among African countries and the ratification by African Union Member States of the Malabo Protocol. This protocol aims, among other things, to give the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) the opportunity to develop model laws and organise the election of Members through universal suffrage once the electoral code is in place.
The two-day conference, held on 4-5 August 2015, brought together over 30 Speakers from Africa’s National Assemblies and Regional Parliaments to discuss the theme: “The adoption of the African Union Treaties in particular the new Protocol of the PAP”.
The Prime Minister of Lesotho, Hon. Bethel Pakalitha Mosisili opened the conference. In his remarks, he reiterated the importance of ratifying the Malabo Protocol and called for popular participation and engagement of citizens in the processes.
“It is absolutely critical that we carry our people along. It cannot and must not be a leaders’ or a Governments’ issue alone. Our people must fully comprehend, accept and own the process. The need for concerted education on the matter cannot be overemphasised.” Hon. Mosisili.
East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker, Hon. Daniel F. Kidega also re-affirmed the need for African governments to speed up the ratification process of the revised Protocol of the PAP.
In his keynote speech, Hon. Kidega said legislation was a key function of any legislature and called for the harmonious balancing of power and interaction between the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary.
“It is important to state that Africa is at a crucial time in its development and thus strengthening of African Union institutions such as PAP, will improve integration of the continent.” Hon. Kidega
In addition, the President of the PAP, H.E. Roger Nkodo Dang remarked that it was necessary for the continent to ratify all legal instruments as an act of faith for the African Union and enable the organ to be on stead to achieving the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
He said PAP was committed to ensuring that Africa finds solutions to the myriad of problems including terrorism, peace and security to strengthen integration. He informed the Assembly that adequate resources would ensure PAP realises its mandate as set out.
The Heads of State and Governments of the African Union adopted the amended Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament on June 27th, 2014 at its Twenty-Third Ordinary Session held in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea. According to the Resolution, the amended Protocol requires 28 ratifications from AU Member States for it to come into force.
In December 2015, EALA passed a Resolution urging EAC Partner States to speedily ratify the Protocol. The Resolution further called on PAP to fast track the election of its Members by universal adult suffrage once it becomes a fully legislature to further consolidate the aspirations of Africans for greater unity, solidarity and cohesion in a larger community in light of the rich African diversity.
AWEPA works in close partnership with both the PAP and EALA through its Sustainable Development Goals programme funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).