Business Development Legal and Parliamentary Affiars

Pan African Parliament charts course of action for development

Chief Charumbira addressing the Pan African Parliament planning workshop delegates

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has seized the first session of the Sixth Parliament as a momentous occasion to chart the course of action for the continent’s development by holding a joint planning workshop.

In his keynote address, Chief Fortune Charumbira, the President of the Aan-African Parliament, at the joint planning meeting for the Sixth Parliament in Fourways, South Africa today, said the workshop is a momentous time to reflect on the plan for 2023 and beyond.

“This is a meeting to hear presentations by PAP regional caucuses and PAP committees on their plans for 2023. The plans are coming against the previous perceptions of PAP. You may be aware that in June this year, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission said the PAP was operating below expectation.

“We are here to change that perception through working with the PAP committees that are the engine room for our operations. If we make an impact through health, education, gender, and youth as espoused in the Rules of the PAP, we will attain our mandate. We should come up with output that will make our citizens note the PAP achievements in thematic areas like trade and conflict resolutions as alluded to. The plans should show that we are moving with time as espoused in new developments like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), for example,” Chief Charumbira said.

The success of the just-concluded First Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament of the PAP was premised on leadership and teamwork. Chief Charumbira encouraged Members and Staff to continue working together for the success of the Pan-African Parliament.

The strategic thrust of the 6th Parliament is, “Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning and Reinvigorating the Pan African Parliament,” and for the African Union legislative organ to achieve this objective, it must transcend from a focus on activities to a focus on results-based performance.

The Joint Planning Meeting provides an opportunity for the PAP not just to review the performance of the past year but also to plan for the forthcoming year. The future plans thereof must be based on lessons learned from the current year as well as the strategic thrust of the institution and this should be evident in the work plans to be presented by the various organs of the PAP.

Chief Charumbira emphasised that the work plans must focus on results and catalyze the repositioning and rebranding of the Pan African Parliament in the eyes of the public.

He asserted that as the Bureau has already reiterated, he hopes that all Committees have applied the SMART principle in developing their work plans. The objectives must be SMART, the purpose must be clear and the results must be verifiable and impactful to the citizenry.

Chief Charumbira cautioned the meeting that though planning is critically important it is certainly not enough. This brings to the fore, the words of the Scottish historian, Thomas Carlyle, who said, “The end of man is action and not thought, though thought be the noblest.”

The PAP Committees were challenged to implement at least one activity before the end of the year and at least two activities before the March session. However, the activities, as alluded to earlier, must have a clear purpose, clear deliverables, and specific timelines.

The Committee on Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA) for instance, is encouraged to focus on addressing all the audit observations that, again, create a negative image of the PAP. The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs must start preparing the 2024 Budget and ensure that it is not skewed towards staff emoluments but focuses on the core business of the PAP.

Regional Caucuses are encouraged to pay attention to enhancing the visibility of the Pan African Parliament and repairing the image of the institution in the eyes of a skeptical public. Staff must focus on delivering support services that meet and exceed the expectations of the Bureau and PAP Members.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende