Musoni, Rwandan lawmakers root for a stronger Pan-African parliament

Protais Musoni. Internet photo

A parliament with full legal powers is key to achieving Pan-Africanism or the African Union (AU) that the continent deserves.

This was the view expressed by Protais Musoni, the Chairperson of the Pan African Movement (PAM – Rwanda) Chapter on Thursday, February 27 in the Rwanda Parliament during a dialogue on Pan-Africanism.

 

The dialogue held under the theme; “Pan Africanism in Leadership and Governance in Africa,” was attended by members of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

 

Musoni said that the continent needs a strong parliament to hold the AU accountable.

 

With the current Pan-African Parliament (PAP) only charged with advisory and consultative duties, there’s a serious shortage of oversight to the AU secretariat.

“We have a parliament which does not hold the AU secretariat accountable…it does not enact laws and cannot question decisions. The status quo should change, there should be a campaign to have an active Pan-African Parliament,” he said.

PAP is one of the organs of the AU with the ultimate goal to evolve into an institution that has full legislative powers and whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage across the continent.

One of the challenges that Africa faces, Musoni said, is [bad] governance, which is not people-centred and lack of implementation of the commitments made.

For instance, he added, the Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance – which was signed in 2010 by 46 nations out of the continent’s 54 countries—was ratified by only 28 members and is not effectively implemented.

“It [the charter] has a provision which states that each signatory country submit a report on how good governance principles are implemented, but, 10 years now, only Rwanda has submit such a report,” he said.

Senator John Bonds Bideri said that the continent pledged ‘to silence the guns’, committing to end armed violence and conflicts by 2020.

However, such a pledge seems to be untenable, he explained.

Musoni stressed that a strong parliament would thus follow up on the implementation of charters that African countries make.

The continent is also still reliant on conditional aid, which he said makes African countries work within the commands from donor nations, effectively sustaining the colonial mindset.

Pan-Africanism, Musoni added, should be a reality, ensure the prosperous and a unified continent as set in Africa Agenda 2063. 

Agenda 2063 is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver inclusive and sustainable development.

“We should have a standby army which AU can deploy in case of need. In the end, we should have one ambassador. If that is done, Africa would be starting to achieve unity. If you have one diplomacy, one defence, and a parliament that controls others, it would be a progress,” Musoni said.

Senate President, Augustin Iyamuremye, said that 60 years have elapsed since Africa was liberated from colonial shackles and yet it continues to grapple with disunity.

“We should play our role as parliamentarians to reinforce good governance and to build institutions that serve the people which can be an observed improvement in their welfare,” he said.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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