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Pandor says PAP must strengthen African democracy

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Dr. Naledi Pandor (centre) Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa (DIRCO) and Guest of Honour at the Joint Retreat between the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) of the African Union (AU), in picture with PAP President Hon. Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira (left of Dr. Pandor) and PAP Parliamentarians, including members of the PAP Bureau and Bureaux, members of the PRC, and representatives of Ambassadors of African countries in South Africa. Image credit: Pan African Parliament.

Pandor says PAP must strengthen African democracy

Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa says that the Pan African Parliament (PAP) must play an active role in strengthening democracy in Africa.

Pandor was the guest of honour at the Joint Retreat between the PAP and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) of the African Union (AU) held in Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this week.

“The PAP is expected to play an active role in strengthening democracy, upholding human rights, and respecting the rule of law. The PAP’s voice should be heard even on unpopular issues such as unconstitutional changes of government and corruption,” Pandor said in her keynote address delivered on the opening day of the Joint Retreat.

In her address Pandor praised the Bureau of the PAP for the significant work it has done since the June 2022 elective session.

The Retreat, three years in the making, was organised to reflect on the challenges affecting the effective exercise by the PAP of its mandate within the AU institutional architecture.

In her speech Pandor recognised that under the leadership of Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira, the Legislative arm of the AU’s drive to reinvigorate and re-energise itself has yielded palpable results.

AU should be people-centred (Pandor says PAP must strengthen African democracy)

The Minister further recalled that the launch of the AU in 2002 was underpinned by the continental body’s resolve to become a people-centred organisation. She was adamant that the PAP has a critical role to play in realising this ideal given its unique capacity to connect with constituencies and African citizens across the continent and beyond.

She also noted that the Union was not established to be a Bureaucracy, but rather an engine to advance the continent’s developmental goals. “This is precisely why the PAP is called upon to monitor the achievement of these goals, especially as the AU embarks on a review of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063,” she said.

Encouraged by progress (Pandor says PAP must strengthen African democracy)

“We are encouraged by what the Parliament has achieved so far under the new leadership. The PAP must now effectively play its role as the Continental Parliament to ensure that AU programmes are implemented in line with the aspirations of the African citizenry.

“For instance, we must ask how the AU’s budget of USD650-million benefits the people of Africa. “What has this money bought us?” she asked. “Has it helped to develop Africa? Has it built schools and solved the food crisis? Are these funds directed at development?”.

Ambassador Lamine Thiaw, Chairperson of the PRC congratulated the PAP for returning to full functionality, following the disruptions in 2021. He commended Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chairperson of the AU; Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission for their personal intervention in ensuring that calm is restored.

“We look forward to working closely with the Bureau to ensure that the Parliament delivers on its mandate to provide a platform for African citizens to be involved in the affairs of the Union. The PAP is one of the most critical organs within the African Union architecture and the Africa we want cannot be achieved without it,” said Thiaw.

Charumbira, President of the PAP, applauded the entire membership of the PRC for such an impressive turnout for the Retreat. “This is an indication that the PRC is taking the work of the PAP and its relationship with the Parliament seriously.

“We need to change the image of the PAP which has taken a battering over the last few years. This has been our focus since June 2022 and our resolve is starting to bear fruit,” Charumbira said.

“The PAP-PRC Retreat provides a platform for earnest reflection on the role of the PAP in the continental governance matrix and the PRC’s expectations with respect to what the Pan-African Parliament can and should deliver within this mandate. At the end of it all, the Retreat must culminate in a convergence of minds in recognition of the fact that both institutions have important complementary roles to play in the AU governance architecture and in the achievement of the objectives of the AU, including Agenda 2063,” he added.

Pandor says PAP must strengthen African democracy

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Pandor says PAP must strengthen African democracy

 

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