First Ordinary Session of the 6th Parliament of the PAP Cogito on Unconstitutional Changes of Governments

On 2 November 2022, a high-level parliamentary dialogue on the resurgence of unconstitutional government changes in some PAP member states was officially opened.

This parliamentary dialogue is not only an opportunity to reflect on the outcomes of the Malabo Extraordinary Summit, but also an opportunity to develop a strategy based on the PAP mandate on how to help prevent, mitigate and counter the growing impacts of unconstitutional changes to government.

During these exchanges, the President of the PAP, the Honourable Chief Fortune Charumbira noted that the objective of this gathering for dialogue is to ensure reflection, deliberation, exchange of ideas and formulation of proposals on the role of the PAP in addressing the growing incidents of unconstitutional changes of government in some Member States.

According to the honorable Charumbira informed, this is a first of its kind, although dialogues of this nature have been convened and the Union and some of its bodies have held a series of deliberations this year on the growing phenomenon of unconstitutional changes in government and irregular political transitions.

The outcomes of these commitments, he said, include the declaration adopted by the 16th Special Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa, held on May 28, 2022 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The PAP is thus the voice of African citizens within the Union in search of peace and political stability,” he said.

He stressed and implored that the dialogue of the day be practical and focused on what and how to support the AU, Member States and how their institutions should promote democratic governance in general by reversing incidents of unconstitutional government changes.

In accordance with “Article 4(1)(c) of the PAP Rules of Procedure, according to the Pap President, we must participate in raising awareness among African peoples of “the promotion of peace, security and stability on the African continent.”

The Honourable Charumbira reiterated his call, since the last elections in June of this year, that this dialogue not be reduced to another empty rhetoric, but that it be a strategy and an action of Parliament. He called for this to be a dialogue aimed at safeguarding and protecting constitutional democracy, human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Africa, as provided for in Article 4(1)(b) of the PAP’s Rules of Procedure as read in the Africa Agenda 2063.

“Need I remind you that this dialogue is also echoed in the AU 2020 theme “Silencing Arms: Creating the Conditions for Africa’s Development”. Peace and security are essential because of the magnitude of their positive impact on many African Union priorities, including stability, economic growth, provision of public services, poverty reduction, fighting corruption and building trust. In this context, we will hear from some of the leading African experts on the subject. Therefore, I ask each of us to be frank in the proper diagnosis of the challenges we face and to propose practical and innovative solutions that give citizens the primacy and power to defend democracy.” Pap’s president said.

“Before continuing, we have developed and passed many laws, frameworks and policies, but unfortunately it seems to me that they have not been enough to counter the rise of unconstitutional changes in government. We must therefore re-examine our interventions and find strategies to counter this growing abrogation of popular will. We cannot continue on the same path if our interventions do not work. As Albert Einstein said, “Madness is about doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

Hon. Charumbira also urged members to increase their engagement with their national parliaments and other government bodies to ensure domestication, implementation and monitoring of progress on these shared values. He stressed that the African Union’s Transitional Justice Policy also offers strategies and mechanisms that we should use to promote peace, stability, democracy and prevent unconstitutional government changes.

AU Member States in their commitment to ensure and maintain peace, democracy and good governance on the African continent, in accordance with the Constitutions and Protocols of the African Union, must ensure that this high-level dialogue aims to find a lasting solution to the disturbing resurgence of military coups in countries such as Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan in recent years.

Parliamentarians from AU member states are meeting in Midrand, South Africa, for the first ordinary session of the sixth legislature of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The session, which opened from Monday 31 October to 1 November under the theme of the African Union 2022 “Strengthening resilience in nutrition on the African continent: accelerating human capital, social and economic development”.

Story By: Florence D.Y. Gbolu

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