Fighting corruption on agenda as Pan-African Parliament convenes

L-R: Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of Parliament; Protais Musoni, Chair of the Pan-African Movement (PAM-Rwanda); and Bernard Makuza, President of the Senate, during a session of second national congress of the Pan-African Movement in September. Sam Ngendahimana.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is holding a two-week session in Kigali with the fight against corruption high on its agenda.

According to a published programme, the official opening of the sixth Ordinary Session is scheduled for Monday at the Kigali Convention Centre with President Paul Kagame, who is Chairperson of the African Union, set to address the Assembly as guest of honor.

The first Ordinary Session of the fifth PAP started Thursday and ends on November 2 under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.’’

PAP is the legislative body of the African Union and is one of the nine organs proposed in the 1991 Treaty establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja Treaty).

Its purpose, as set out in article 17 of the AU Constitutive Act, is “to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent.”

The ultimate aim is for Parliament to be an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal suffrage. The Continental Parliament exercises oversight, and has advisory and consultative powers.

The Parliament is intended as a platform for people from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. The Parliament sits in Midrand, South Africa.

Participants during the second national congress of Pan-African Movement (PAM-Rwanda) Chapter in September. The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is expected to discuss ways to tackling corruption on the continent when it officially opens on Monday. Sam Ngendahimana.

Peace and security in Africa

Among other issues, the session will also discuss peace and security in Africa, the role and impact of the African Union electoral observation missions in terms of cases of electoral disputes in the continent, transitional justice in Africa, the draft model disability law and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Country Review Reports.

The Acting Clerk of Parliament, YusuphaJobe, said that while the seat was in Midrand, the initiative was meant to ensure that all regions of the continent have access to the organ.

“This presents an opportunity for Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Youth and many other different groupings of society to witness the sittings of the Parliament, and to establish links that could see their inputs incorporated in the African Agenda. We therefore encourage different stakeholders not to miss this opportunity,” Jobe said.

The PAP held its inaugural session in March 2004.

In October 2009, the second legislature of the PAP opened its first ordinary session and began a new 5-year mandate. 

The seat of the Pan-African Parliament was initially in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but was later moved to Midrand, South Africa.

The Parliament holds two ordinary sessions (May and October) in a year.

Rwanda becomes the second member state, after Egypt, to host a session of the PAP held outside Midrand.

The Parliament has more than 275 members representing the 55 AU member states – with five members for each country. The five must include at least one woman and reflect the diversity of political representation in the National Parliament or deliberative organ.

Rwanda’s five representatives are Senators Jacqueline Muhongayire and Jean NépomuscèneSindikubwabo, as well as three members of the Chamber of Deputies; MPs IgnatienneNyirarukundo, Mediatrice M. Izabiliza and IgnatienneNyirarukundo.

The lawmakers are designated by the legislatures of their member states and are not directly elected by the people.

At least 40 new delegates from different countries will be sworn in as Members of the PAP following elections in a number of African States and rotation within delegations.

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