Makhosandile Zulu
4 minute read
7 May 2018
12:59 pm

Malema commits to giving the Pan African Parliament teeth

Makhosandile Zulu

Malema says more women and young people should be members of the PAP.

EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema, who has been sworn in as a member of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) along with five other South African members of parliament (MP), has committed to making the institution effectual and successful.

Speaking after he was sworn during PAP’s sixth ordinary session today, Malema said the institution could not continue to be an advisory body.

“It must legislate, it must hold countries accountable. Most African countries do not adhere to principles of democracy, they do not respect democratic outcomes, there is a lot of institutionalised corruption and other unacceptable conduct that is being done in many other countries,” the EFF leader said.

The PAP has 255 members representing 55 African Union (AU) member states that had ratified the protocol establishing it. In terms of article 4 (2) of the protocol to the treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to the PAP, each state would be represented by five members.

The five members from each country should include at least one woman and reflect the diversity of political representation in the national parliament or deliberative organ.

The other South African MPs include national council of provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise, National Assembly house chairperson for internal arrangements Thoko Didiza, Mandlesizwe Zwelivelile Mandela and Santosh Vinita Kalyan.

“But PAP can’t intervene because it doesn’t have teeth, and I’m happy that the South African parliament has taken a decision to send their senior leadership to this institution so that they can begin to change the attitude, but also to put pressure on our own parliament to sign the [Malabo] protocol, so that we can move around the continent encouraging other countries to sign the same protocol giving this institution teeth to bite,” Malema said.

The Malabo Protocol extends the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), which is yet to be established, to try transnational crimes and crimes under international law.

The protocol was adopted at the AU Assembly of heads of state and government meeting in June 2014, which was held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The protocol is amendments on the statute of the ACJHR and AU member states were called on to sign and ratify it.

Signatories to the protocol include Chad, Benin, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe and Sierra Leone.

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“Many people have been accusing the delegation here that most of the people that come here [to the PAP sessions] are coming to a holiday because they have nothing to do in their countries [and that] is precisely because of the powers of this institution, and therefore they just see it as one of the touring programmes to South Africa,” the commander-in-chief of the red berets said.

According to Wikipedia, the seat of the PAP was moved to Midrand, South Africa, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“But once you give it sharpened teeth then people will begin to appreciate that we are not here to tour, we are here to make sure that there is proper legislation governing our continent and holding the leadership of our continent accountable,” Malema said.

The EFF leader added that deployees to the PAP should include young people and an increased number of women because the inclusion of one woman to the five members from each country was not sufficient.

“We should be able to say we need 50% of the representation here to be women, and there should be consequences for those states that do not send the required representation of women, including young people.

“Majority of African parliaments are constituted by old age, and it’s unacceptable, and the old age will even be determining plans, calling them 2030 plans, 2063 plan, knowing very well they won’t be here, so we need the young ones who will put a plan which they will know that if they do not implement they will still be held accountable in 2063, in 2030. How do you hold a 70-year-old accountable in 2063? Nature will not allow for that person to be around at that time,” Malema said.

The firebrand leader said the inclusion of young people to PAP would contribute to institutional memory, and those young people would be committed to decisions taken by the institution.

“So we are here to make it vibrant, but also to ensure that indeed it gets the necessary teeth to bite,” the EFF leader said.

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