| Pan-African Parliament seeks to Strengthen Linkages with National Parliaments in Africa
30 August 2012, Pan African Parliament
The Consultative meeting for the Clerks and Secretaries-General of African Parliaments was opened today at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The meeting was organized under the theme "Strengthening Linkages between the Pan-African Parliament and National Parliaments".
In his opening address, Hon. Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi, President of the PAP said that the PAP was "committed to the realization of its mandate (.....) and will spare no effort in facilitating co-operation and development in Africa, strengthen continental solidarity and build a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Africa".
The President noted that the Clerks and the Secretaries-General are the key to the success of parliaments in achieving their objectives as the administrative heads of the secretariats.
He further noted that this consultative dialogue "could not have come at a better time than this in the evolution of the Pan-African Parliament, especially as it goes through a transformation process".
The Clerk of the Pan-African Parliament, Adv. Zwelethu Madasa, in his presentation to the meeting said that the Protocol establishing the PAP was still under review by the African Union Member States. This is to establish how the Pan-African Parliament can be transformed from its current advisory and consultative position into a full legislative body. Adv. Madasa cited that there was a lot that can be done by the Pan-African Parliament, but the lack of cooperation from the Member States of the African Union is delaying the whole process and the activities of the PAP.
The Clerk of the PAP noted his concerns on the poor attendance of Members of Parliaments to the activities and Ordinary Sessions of the PAP, also the visibility of the PAP. He challenged Parliamentarians to play their role of sensitising the public about PAP, urging them to increase the visibility through their National Parliaments. "The responsibility of making PAP visible on the continent lies frontally on the MPs, who represent their countries at the PAP", he noted.
Mr. Heindri Bailey, a parliamentary expert, made a presentation on "The formation of a Pan-African Secretaries-General Association (PASGA) to strengthen linkages between national parliaments and the Pan-African Parliament in order to achieve a number of objectives, including providing means by which parliamentary and management practices of various African parliaments can be made accessible to parliamentary officials. The Association aims also to foster mutual interests in duties and responsibilities, to assist in professional developments and to establish a portal for the collection and dissemination of knowledge on development related to parliamentary practices and procedures. Lastly, it aims to facilitate technical support, identify and propose methods for improving parliamentary practices and secure cooperation between parliaments within the AU.
It was agreed that the PAP should generate a secretariat to articulate the objectives of the formation of the Association in consultation with all the regional clerks and present them to the next meeting in 2013 for adoption.