East African Legislative Assembly, Midrand, South Africa: August 5, 2016: The 8th Annual Conference of Speakers has opened in Midrand, South Africa.  In attendance at the two-day Conference whose theme is from “Adoption of the African Union Treaties in particular the new Protocol of the PAP” are over 30 Speakers from the National Assemblies and Regional Parliaments in the continent.

The Prime Minister of Lesotho, Rt Hon Bethel Pakalita Mosisili opened the two-day conference.

In his remarks, the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of ratifying the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament that empowers the continental Assembly to execute its mandate to accord credence to the AU Policies and programmes. 
A section of the African Speakers in attendance

“African States are urged to sign and ratify the Malabo Protocol.   In addition, a balance of legislative powers must be struck between the National Parliaments and the Continental Assembly (PAP) to ensure acceptability as we move towards continental free trade area and continental integration” the Premier said.

The Prime Minister 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 overemphasized.  This is so as to avoid a repeat of what happened in Europe – Brexit”, he added.

EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega re-affirmed the need for African Governments to speed up the ratification process of the revised Protocol of the Pan African Parliament.  The Protocol among other things, aims at giving PAP opportunity to develop model laws and elections of Members through universal suffrage once the electoral code is in place.
The Prime Minister of Lesotho, Rt Hon Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili opens the 8th Conference of Annual Speakers at the PAP headquarters in Midrand, South Africa.

Making key note remarks while presenting a paper entitled; “Plan of Action for PAP to achieve Legislative Powers, Rt 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.

“I am informed that 10 countries have already signed the amended Protocol, three have ratified, with only two depositing the Instrument”, Speaker Kidega said. “It is important to state that Africa is at a crucial time in its development and thus strengthening of AU institutions such as PAP, will improve integration of the continent”, he added. 

Rt Hon Kidega further remarked that integration was only bound to proceed if it is people-centred.“For any results to be tangible, felt and seen, it must be people-centred. It is recognised that one of the causes of the collapse of the first EAC (1967-77), was the low level of involvement of stakeholders in their activities.  This is why the new arrangement emphasises popular participation of all stakeholders”, he said.
GOOD TO SEE YOU: PAP President, H.E. Roger Nkodo Dang and the EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega in consultation.

The EALA Speaker cited the need for adequate research, strengthening of Committees and advocacy to enhance the uptake of model laws as fundamental in leveraging the PAP.

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.  

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 Africa Union to be on stead with regards to realising Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega shares a light moment with ECOWAS Speaker, Rt Hon Moustapha Cisse earlier today.

He said PAP was committed to ensuring 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 realizes its mandate as set out.

Prof Vincent O, Nmehielle, Legal Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs at the African Union Commission, said a stronger PAP would promote the principles of human rights, good governance and accountability in individual Member States, which in turn sets a tone for peace and stability.

He reiterated that there is need to identify the challenges or limitations faced by States in the ratification processes.

Some of the Regional Speakers in attendance include Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga and the President of the Burundi Senate, Rt. Hon Reverien Ndikuriyo as well as Members of the PAP representing the Republics of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

In December 2015, EALA passed a Resolution urging EAC Partner States to speedily ratify the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan African Parliament.  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.

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