n African Security Review - The Pan-African Parliament : a plenary of parliamentarians : essay

Volume 13, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Founded on the basis of the 1991 Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community that came into force in May 1994, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was inaugurated in Addis Ababa on 18 March 2004. The inauguration followed the ratification by a majority of the 53 African Union (AU) member states of the PAP Protocol that had come into force on 14 December 2003. While it is suggested that the PAP will oversee the AU Executive once the continental parliament has been given legislative power in its second term, the debate on the role that the PAP should play continues to rage. This article enters the debate by giving an overview of the workings of the PAP and makes some concrete proposals on ways in which the continental parliament can contribute to the continent. The article underlines the need for the PAP to develop or seek the capacity to conduct or commission research on pertinent issues for further recommendation to the assembly. It proposes that the continental parliament should send observer missions to countries holding elections on the continent so that it may contribute to the entrenchment of democracy on the continent. The article also identifies some of the challenges that lie ahead of the continental body, including funding as well as the challenge of maximising the participation of ordinary Africans.

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