SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT: Five Members from the Parliament of Uganda have sworn in as new Members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP). The Members who were designated to the continental body took oath today, Tuesday, 11th October 2016 during the Third Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament sitting at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The Members sworn in include Hon. Jacqueline Amongin (NRM, Ngora), also the Leader of the PAP delegation; Prof. Ogenga Latigo (FDC, Agago North); Hon. Anifa Bangirana Kawooya (NRM, Sembabule); Hon. Felix Okot Ogong (NRM, Dokolo South) and Hon. Babirye Kadogo (Ind. Buyende). Other new members sworn in were from the Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Niger, Mauritania and Zambia.
In their oath, the Members pledged to “…be faithful and bear true allegiance to the African Union…preserve, protect and defend the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the protocol of the Treaty…promote adherence to the principles of good governance, democracy and human rights, international humanitarian law, peace, stability and all objectives of the Pan African Parliament.”
The PAP is one of the organs of the African Union and comprises five members from each of the 54 African Parliaments. Established in March 2004, the legislature has its headquarters in Midrand, South Africa.
The objectives of the PAP are, among others, to promote peace, security and stability in the region; facilitate cooperation and development in Africa; promote human rights and democracy and to encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in member states.
In his welcome remarks to the new and returning Members, the PAP President, Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang, reiterated his call for the need for member states to sign and ratify the Malabo Protocol.
It was envisaged from the onset that PAP should have full legislative powers but as it stands now, the organ exercises only consultative and advisory powers. However, with the revised Malabo Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union on the PAP, which was adopted by a decision of the AU Assembly in 2014, in Equatorial Guinea, there are plans to give the body full legislative functions with its Members elected from outside the membership of national parliaments.
Women representation improving
In a related event, the Secretary General of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), Mr. Martin Chungong, has said that Parliaments in the Arab world and in Africa are becoming more assertive and representative, in terms of women, minorities and youth.
“Africa is faring well, women representation accounts for 23% and 18% in Africa and the Arab world respectively,” he said adding; “We also want to see parliaments made of men and women who uphold integrity in their own right and in society.”
Mr Chungong was addressing PAP Members in a joint meeting of the PAP and the Arab Parliament, which was attended by the Speakers of the National Assembly of Egypt, the Arab Parliament, the PAP President and the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
He extended an invitation to the leadership of the PAP to take necessary steps to join the IPU.
The third Ordinary Session of the PAP is sitting from 10th – 19th October 2016 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.