A delegation of the African Union Commission (AUC), has wrapped up its working visit to the seat of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, South Africa.
The mission formed part of the fact-finding exercise undertaken by the Chairperson of the AUC on the circumstances surrounding the suspension of the elective ordinary session of the PAP in May 2021, AU document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema on Wednesday stated.
During its three-day mission, the delegation held consultations with officials of the PAP Secretariat; representatives of the Southern Region caucus of the PAP; and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.
The team is also expected to interact with representatives from the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western caucuses of the PAP as part of the investigation into the events that occurred on May 31 and June 1, 2021.
Deliberations revolved around the implementation of the principle of rotation for the position of President of the PAP; security arrangements during PAP meetings; and the overall mandate of the PAP in line with the upcoming institutional reforms of the AU.
The findings of the ongoing inquiry will form part of a report by the Chairperson of the AUC to the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), ahead of the meeting of the Executive Council of the AU slated for mid-October, which will provide the way forward for the resumption of the PAP Parliamentary activities.
Mr. Ratebaye Tordeka, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chairperson of the AUC and leader of the delegation, hailed cooperation from the PAP Secretariat and all relevant stakeholders engaged so far during this fact-finding mission.
He committed to ensure that all evidence collected as well as recommendations from all parties are loyally transmitted to the Chairperson to enable policy organs to chart a way forward for the PAP.
“The Chairperson, in his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of the Union, suspended all Parliamentary activities of the PAP in the aftermath of the PAP session marred by scenes that were damaging for the image of the entire Union,” he said.
The importance of the PAP within the AU architecture remains undisputable; this explains the Chairperson’s interest in understanding the underlying issues behind the disagreement among members of Parliament and the suspension of the session.
The objective is to resolve any stalemate so that the PAP can get back to its full operational capability, said Mr. Tordeka.
Mr. Vipya Harawa, Clerk of the PAP, described the working visit as a positive development given the urgent need for the PAP to resume its suspended session and elect political leadership to steer the institution in the right direction.
“The intervention of the Chairperson of the AUC through the deployment of this delegation is a significant step.
“The report of the PAP Secretariat to the delegation contained an account of the events that led to the suspension of the session as well as recommendations for a return to normality at the PAP.
“We emphasised the need for the issue of rotation and modalities for its implementation to be settled by higher bodies of the AU as a condition for the resumption of the session, which will yield expected results.
“We also called on the delegation to further examine the current mandate and relevance of the PAP so that the institution comes out of this situation with a clear direction on how to better serve the peoples of Africa,” said Mr. Harawa.
Proceedings of the fourth Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament were suspended following disagreements and disruptions that transpired during the procession of the Plenary on May 31 and June 1, 2021 as the PAP was looking to elect the President and Vice Presidents of its Bureau.
A resumption of the session has been tentatively planned for mid-November pending guidance from the highest decision-making structures of the AU.
The AUC delegation also comprised of Professor Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo: Head of AU Reforms Unit; Mr. Floribert Kabalu: representative of the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Addis Ababa; Mr. Lagizabar Bekele: representative from the Office of the Legal Counsel of the AU; and Ms. Ouriatou Danfhaka: Senior Policy Officer in the office of the Chairperson of the AUC.