There are growing calls for the Pan-African Parliament (P.A.P)to grow some teeth and effectively function as an oversight entity instead of being an assembly of delegates. Speakers at the opening ceremony of the fourth session of the fifth parliament in Midrand say the P.A.P needs to be strengthened into a legislative authority.
Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo Addo, was the guest of honour at Monday’s event.
Two narratives dominated the opening ceremony of the fourth session of the fifth Pan-African Parliament. After more than a year away from chambers due to the COVID-19 pandemic – members descended onto Midrand to begin their work in earnest. But the day’s speakers did not hold back. Akufo-Addo says the P.A.P needs to be strengthened.
The MPs were also lambasted for their continued disunity along colonial lines – the Francophone vs Anglophone vs Lusophone countries.
International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor, says members must remember the purpose of the institution. She says MPs should be demanding good governance from national governments.
The second narrative was that of working towards capacitating Africa with the knowledge and technology to produce its own vaccines. The continued inequity to accessing healthcare is a bitter pill to swallow. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ambassador to South Africa, Bene M’poko says not realising self-reliance is detrimental to the continent. He says Africa is highly talented and more than capable.
Meanwhile, National Assembly speaker, Thandi Modise, used the platform to advocate for peace in the Middle East. She says South Africa’s parliament has an intention to visit Palestine on a diplomatic mission. SA’s government has expressed solidarity with the Palestinians while calling for a two-state solution.
In the latest exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas – more than 250 people were killed this month, most of them in Gaza. Modise says they want to see peace prevail.
The fourth ordinary session continues for the next two weeks.
120 new members will be sworn in and new leadership will be elected.
Importance of the Pan African Parliament: Amos Masondo