Pap should lead the fight for democracy

2018-05-17 06:00
opinionThembile Ndabeni

opinionThembile Ndabeni

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The introduction of the Pan African Parliament in 2004 raised hopes with the understanding that challenges relating to the African continent will be dealt with collectively.

It was therefore, expected to be an assembly of African states, represented by the heads of states or relevant representatives.

But to my disappointment I just see ordinary people. I ended up being in a state of confusion and frustration.

It is not a matter of disrespect but a matter of the right people supposed to be there. When Thabo Mbeki was still the Head of State in South Africa, I expected him or relevant Ministers to be there. But to my surprise that was not the case.

After his swearing in to PAP, Julius Malema said that PAP needs to have “teeth” so that it can be able to tackle errant governments on the continent.

“It must legislate, it must hold countries accountable. Most African countries do not adhere to principles of democracy, nor do they respect democratic outcomes.

There is a lot of institutionalised corruption and other unacceptable conduct that is being done in many other countries.”

This will ensure that they follow democratic principles and tackle corruption.

PAP is almost 15 years and one expects it to speak with more authority. What is new that Malema is going to bring? He is merely replacing Floyd Shivambu.

For Parliament to be, starts from how it is structured. Like any household, the building itself is not bad, but who occupies it, from the head to the subordinates. It should be hierarchical.

Without a proper structure, shouting from the mountain won’t help much unless the shout is for help to change the structure.

That kind of shouting is not bad at all if it promises to steer the ship to the right direction.

Perhaps Malema’s involvement, characterized by his being vociferous, will take PAP in the right direction, so that it can live up to its name.

Malema is spot on, having highlighted two major issues that affect Africa; lack of democracy and corruption.

Presently there is one or two countries that are really or still democratic in Africa. South Africa is one. On that, PAP is needed to consolidate and defend democracy where it exists, and pave the way for democracy where there is none.

Democracy at work can assist in solving corruption, unless the majority is itself corrupt.

Democracy can be “cured’ by a strong and informed populace, better informed, strong, opposition and independent critical media.

Malema has challenged PAP for getting a lot of funding from South Africa though South Africa doesn’t have any influence.

South Africa has a responsibility towards other states in the same manner they did during apartheid.

In Africa, that notion came from freedom fighters who attained their independence first, who said they were not free until the whole continent is free.

I thought the Pan African Parliament would be the realisation of United States of Africa as dreamed and espoused by earlier fighters for our independence.

I am referring to the likes of Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, and Robert Sobukwe.

South Africa can share its experience of democracy with other states, with the advice and blessings from veterans like “KK” (Kenneth Kaunda).


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