The Speakers of African Parliaments unanimously approved that the Pan African Parliament (PAP) evolves from the consultative and advisory body of the African Union to one with full legislative and oversight powers. The Speakers of the African Parliaments took that decision at the 6th Annual Conference of Speakers of African Parliament held in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa last week.
The Speakers further approved that future members of the PAP will be elected by direct universal adult suffrage and not nominated by National Parliaments as is presently the case. Each African country will vote in a general election to elect five members to PAP. The Conference took that decision following a lengthy discussion on an amended PAP Protocol drafted by the African union at its 23rd summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014.
The National Assembly of Seychelles was represented by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Dr. Patrick Herminie who said that this decision would come into force once the amended protocol was ratified by more than half of members of PAP. PAP has presently 49 members Parliament.
The conference further debated and adopted a presentation by H.E Hon. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union, entitled the Vision and African Aspirations for 2063 which reaffirms the AU Vision to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, an Africa driven and managed by its own citizen and representing a dynamic force in the international arena. It is to be noted that the 2063 vision also promoted the concept of the Blue Economy, the brain child of President James Michel, as an important mechanism to sustain growth in Africa.
The conference also deliberated on the need to fast track Pan-Africanism and African renaissance through the speedy ratification and domestication of the many African Union legal instruments/protocols. The conference also lamented the fact that out of the 49 AU protocols in place only 26 countries have ratified more than half of the instruments.
The Speaker, Dr. Patrick Herminie, described the deliberations as very fruitful but warned that unless Africa shows the political will to strengthen democratic institutions such as the legislature, the Office of the Auditor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission and a strong Judiciary, and to take full control of its vast resources, our vision of a united Africa with one central bank system and currency, one African Passport; one continental nationality, an Africa without border, will remain a very distant dream. The Speaker was accompanied by Hon. Kevin Vidot, representative of the English River district and the Acting Clerk, Ms. Shelda Commettant.