Members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) sitting in Midrand, South Africa, have condemned the increasing attacks on them and demanded for heightened security.
The Members also demanded for the relocation of the PAP headquarters from South Africa to a country where Members’ security can be guaranteed if the host country cannot give assurances of their safety.
The debate by Members on Tuesday, 2 August 2016, comes on the heels of an attack on a Senegalese Member of the continent’s legislative body.
Honourable Aissatou Sow Diawara was shot at and critically injured on Thursday, 28th July 2016 while enroute to her hotel from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.
In the same vehicle were three PAP Members from Namibia who were robbed of their belongings. They later returned to Namibia.
“We are not escorted by police and there is no protection provided to us in our hotels. Are you, Mr President, waiting until one of our Members losses their life in order for measures to protect us to be implemented? We would like to review the Headquarters Agreement and negotiate for another venue,” said Hon. Haidara Aichata, from Mali.
Honourable Idris Yousif (Sudan) said there was need for political will in order to address the security of MPs.
“The last time we were told ‘measures will be taken’. We need to accept that we are living in a situation of insecurity and we cannot continue our work in those conditions,” he said.
There have been in the past, reported attacks on the MPs in August 2015, October 2015, March 2016, May 2016 and most recently July 2016.
Hon. McHenry Venaani, (Namibia) wondered why there was no apology forthcoming from the South African government.
“Why are we not hearing an official apology from South Africa on this matter? South Africa must host PAP with all conditions that come with it,” he said to applause from Members.
Hon. Fortune Charumbira (Zimbabwe) told the Assembly that the government in South Africa had withdrawn certain privileges that Members had and that is why they were now susceptible to attacks.
He said the host country agreement had lapsed and that there was no obligation on the host government to provide elaborate services to Members.
The PAP President, Roger Nkodo Dang, reassured Members that the security of the MPs had been stepped up but could not divulge details.
He urged Members to take their security seriously when he said, “Security is an individual matter first before becoming a collective one.”
Speaker Roger Nkodo reminded Members that insecurity exists throughout the world and that there are always hotspots of insecurity everywhere.
Founded in March 2004, The Pan African Parliament comprises five members from each of the 47 of the 54 African Union member states.
Uganda’s delegation to PAP includes: Hon. Jacquiline Amongin (NRM, Ngora); Prof. Ogenga Latigo (FDC, Agago North); Hon. Anifa Bangirana Kawooya (NRM, Ssembabule); Hon. Felix Okot Ogong (NRM, Dokolo South) and Hon. Babirye Kadogo (Ind. Buyende).
Uganda’s delegation will take oath and be sworn in as Members of the continental legislature in October 2016 in Egypt where the next session will take place.