News24

Pan-African Parliament opens

2012-10-08 22:21

Midrand - The (Pan-) African Parliament opened on Monday for a third five-year term, with serious concerns over its relevancy as the body has no legislative powers.

The body has been a talk shop since its inception in 2004, two years after the African Union was formed, but Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi, the current president of the AU, promised his support to the parliament's aspiration to become a continental legislature.

"We must support a legislative arm at continental level elected by universal suffrage," Yayi told parliamentarians in Midrand close to Johannesburg.

"They will involve some changes for the constitutive act of the AU to give the [parliament] continental legitimacy," he said.

African heads of state last July shelved proposals to give the Pan-African Parliament additional powers at their summit in Addis Ababa.

"This is possibly because of fears an African legislature would erode the powers of their parliaments," said PAP president Bethel Amadi of Nigeria.

"Such fears are groundless. Change is inevitable," he added.

"Being transformed into a legislative body will be a small step forward for the PAP but a giant leap for the voiceless people of Africa," he said.

Elected for five-year terms, the parliament sits for three weeks twice a year in Midrand.

Comments
  • MagdaKus - 2012-10-09 03:00

    If the body has no legislative powers, then no clout and no accountability either? Is it anything more than a talk-shop? Or a source of income for the representatives? (I am sort of asking if there's a point to it)

      citizen.kane.35 - 2012-10-09 07:17

      Its not called PAP for nothing Magdakus :)

  • sisie.indola - 2012-10-09 07:32

    Oh hell - there is AU/Pan Africa and whatever other organisation there is out there - can some one honestly tell me what good has it done Africa in the long run. All they seem to do is talk, talk and talk, talk. Just like SABC - how they love to talk - it must be a case of i love to hear myself speak - it is a good sound - doesn't mean i have to say anything meaningful or relevant. It just sounds good.

  • james.hurley.1401 - 2012-10-11 00:58

    Uganda MP called for continent-wide imprisonment for gays. Thank god the South African representatives have some sense. They should go back to their backwards country.

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