The Pan-African Parliament & its functions?
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was established to ensure the complete involvement of African countries in the economic development and integration of the continent.
The Pan-African Parliament serves as a platform for authorities from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. Initially the seat of the Pan-African Parliament was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but it was later moved to Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Reasonably, other than being elected directly by the people Pan-African Parliament members are nominated by the legislatures of their Member State and members of their domestic legislatures. The critical aim is for the Parliament to be an institution with complete legislative powers, whose members are elected by general vote.
The Pan-African Parliament is made up of 3 principal bodies: the plenary, bureau, and secretariat. There are also 10 Permanent Committees, which were formed to deal with diverse sectors of life in Africa
Functions of the Parliament
- Implement the policies and objectives of the African Union.
- Cultivate human rights and democracy in Africa.
- Make sure Member States adhere to good governance, transparency and accountability.
- Let the peoples of Africa know what the objectives and policies of the African Union are so that they might be able to integrate themselves continentally while still working within the framework of the AU.
- Engender peace, security and stability on the Continent.
- Promote self-reliance and economic recovery so as to lead to a more prosperous future for the peoples of Africa.
- Engender cooperation and development in Africa.
- Strengthen a sense of solidarity and build common destiny among the peoples of Africa.
- Create cooperation among Regional Economic Communities and their Members in Parliament.
The Pan-African Parliament is constituted of 5 members per Member State that has sanctioned the Protocol establishing it, including at least one woman per Member State and reflecting the diversity of political opinions in their own national parliament or deliberative organ.
The Pan-African Parliament organs are the Bureau and Permanent Committees. The Bureau comprises of a president and 4 vice-presidents, representing the 5 AU regions, and is accountable for the management and administration of the Parliament and its organs
There are 10 Permanent Committees and 1 ad hoc one, whose mandate and functions are set out in the Pan-African Parliament Rules of Procedure. These functions correspond to those of the AU Specialized Technical Committees. Each committee can have up to 30 members.
The Committees includes:
- Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources
- Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution
- Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disabilities
- Monetary and Financial Affairs
- Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters
- Health, Labour and Social Affairs
- Transport, Industry, Communications, Energy, Science and Technology
- Rules, Privileges and Discipline
- Justice and Human Rights
- Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment
- Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA)
The Pan-African Parliament Secretariat supports in the day-to-day running of the Parliament, involving reporting meetings, organizing elections and managing staff. The Secretariat consists of a clerk, 2 deputy clerks and support staff.
The Pan-African Parliament is able to meet in an ordinary session up to twice in a year, usually in March and August. These ordinary sessions are regular meetings in which issues in Africa are discussed, and legislature can be voted on and passed to meet the needs of Africa as members of the Pan-African Parliament see fit, and last up to a month long.
The permanent committees of the parliament always meet twice a year for statutory meetings, and can convene as often as they see fit during ordinary sessions of parliament for non-statutory meetings. The parliament can also meet in extraordinary sessions in case of emergency or some other extenuating circumstances.
During some of these meetings, elections are held to elect the Acting President and Vice Presidents of the Bureau. These positions are chaired by members of the Parliament hailing from the 5 regions of Africa: northern, central, eastern, western, and southern, with the Acting President hailing from any one of these regions. The candidates must be ratified by the Plenary before ballots can be cast on who will actually be voted in