20th anniversary celebration of Pan-African Parliament marked

The 20th anniver­sary celebration of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the quasi-legislative organ of the Afri­can Union (AU), was on Monday observed here in Midrand.

It afforded stakeholders the opportunity to reflect on the two-decade journey of the Parliament and chart the way forward through speeches and solidarity messages.

The event which was interspersed with cultural and musical interlude from across Africa, and climaxed with the cutting of the anniversary cake amid fun fair.

The speeches and solidarity messages noted the key role of PAP in advancing women’s rights, democratic norms and the promotion of peace, security, and good governance across the African continent, and the need to deepen awareness of the activities of PAP.

Present were the First President of PAP, Gertrude Mongella; current President Fortune Zephania Charumbira, the Clerk to PAP, Lindiwe Khumalo; members of the PAP, members of the diplomatic corps, and Dean of Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to South Africa, Andre Nzapayeke.

With the slogan “One African, One People” the 275- Member quasi-legislative body has been in the forefront over the last two decades amplifying the voices of African citizenry and facilitating the implementation of policies and treaties of the AU aimed at fostering development and cooperation among member states.

Ms Mongella, who served as PAP’s first President from 2004- 2009, appealed to Heads of States of member countries to provide adequate human, technical and financial support to the legislative body to push forward the African agenda.

“The PAP is not a stepchild of the union, it is the child of the union, it should be loved, cared by the union, it should be nurtured to promote growth and development.

“If the union does not nurtured the PAP, through adequate budgetary allocations, it cannot effectively performs its role because PAP complements the work of the union,” Ms Mongella said.

The Pioneer President, urged PAP to help stem the tide of political tension and conflicts on the Africa continent and to stop it from “spreading like bush fire” to create opportunity for neocolonialism.

She called for renewed commitment, and encouraged the members of Parliament to re-energise the slogan “One Africa, One Vioce.”

Mr Charumbira on his part, said the PAP was created 20 years ago to fill the “missing link” to ensure the full participation of African citizenry in economic development of the continent, saying “without Parliament the AU was incomplete.”

The President stressed the need for the ratification of the “Malabo Protocol” by member states to get the required 24 signatories to become a full-fledged Parliament with enforceable powers.

Mr Nzapayeke said it was time to recognise and appreciate the PAP as key player for the “African we want” free from war and fully integrated economically.

Other messages were from William Cowrey of Economic, Social and Cultural Council and virtual messages from Secretary General of African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, and Patrick Lumumba.


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