Midrand, Johannesburg – The Third Ordinary Session of the Second Parliament of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) was opened yesterday in Midrand South Africa by Hon. Dr. Moussa Idriss Ndélé, the President of the PAP. In his opening speech, Hon. Ndélé said PAP will ensure that all African countries attain the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015. He added that PAP was working hard to see to it that all the countries in Africa achieved the MGDs as scheduled. “We want to improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality,” he said.
Prior to his speech a number of messages of solidarity were delivered in the House by the President of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), Mr. Akere Muna, the Premier of Gauteng Province in South Africa Ms. Nomvula Mokonyane and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki.
Recalling the NEPAD Secretariat transformation into the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Dr. Mayaki said that the NEPAD Agency is “proud to be associated with PAP and will continue to robustly engage PAP as a key organ of the African Union, particularly in promoting popular participation and representation of African peoples in decision-making and good governance’’.
In addition, because both PAP and NEPAD are undergoing a transformation process for the improved delivery of Africa’s development priorities, Dr Mayaki stated in conclusion that “without any doubt the delivery on NEPAD and Africa’s development priorities will be strengthened trough PAP’s legislative power’’.
Hon. Ndélé highlighted the need for PAP to be transformed from a consultative to a legislative organ and ended by expressing PAP’s desire to see free, fair and transparent elections in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Chad in the coming days and months.
On the issue of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, Hon. Ndélé said that the PAP had launched a campaign known as ‘’11before2011’’ which aims to get eleven ratifications for the Charter before the year 2011.
Hon. Ndélé also noted with happiness that seventeen African countries would by the end of this year celebrate their 50th independence anniversaries; a sign that the continent had matured. He called for dialogue among sub-regional parliaments in order to achieve Africa’s quest for development and achieve the dreams of the founding fathers.
On her part, the Special Guest of the Session, H.E. Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (see photo), Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa said that “African nations must focus their energies on promoting peace on the continent.” The Minister emphasized the importance of Africans uniting and cooperating to rid Africa of conflict.
She validated the importance of the PAP saying that it was “an important organ of the AU that has a critical role in the democratization process of the continent, peace-building, development, unity and integration.”
The South African Minister called for the further advancement of democracy in Africa. Appealing to nations to do more to curb coups, she added that “the resurgence of this phenomenon undermines our continued efforts to entrench and consolidate democracy on the continent and remains a threat to the stability of Africa.”
The Minister called for AU instruments to be reviewed in order to deal with unconstitutional changes in government, and for stronger measures to be taken to deal with perpetrators of coups.
During the opening session, thirteen new Members of Parliament representing Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and the Sudan were also sworn-in during the sitting.
The current session will end on the 22nd of October.