PAP advances human rights, democracy
PAP plays a critical role in advancing issues to do with human rights and democracy in Africa. This words were said by Deputy-Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Candice Mashego-Dlamini at the official opening of the First Statutory Committees Sittings of the Six Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) at the PAP precinct in Midrand, on 06 March 2023.
The PAP Committees Sitting is convened under the African Union 2023 theme of the year “The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation” and this finds expression with the profound vision for the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament, to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent.
“It is worth noting that the PAP sitting takes place on the backdrop of a successful 36th Africa Union summit held at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia which edged the AU member states to double the spirit of Pan Africanism, solidarity and brotherhood by accelerating the operationalisation of the AfCFTA. Hosting the PAP Committee Sitting under AU 2023 theme is a clear demonstration of the PAP’s resolve and commitment to working towards the realisation of this significant AU strategic policy framework,” said Mashego-Dhlamini.
According to Mashego-Dhlamini, by hosting the PAP Committees Sitting under the AU 2023 theme of the year is a clear demonstration of the PAP’s resolve and commitment to work towards the realisation of this significant AU and strategic policy framework.
“PAP’s oversight role is important especially in pursuit of fostering growth and prosperity in Africa. PAP remains an integral player in the realisation of the Africa that we want as Pan Africanism drive the unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity,” she said.
Connectedly, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the first decade of Agenda 2063. Relatedly, Mashego-Dhlamini observed that it is therefore quite crucial to invest efforts to complete with tenacity and fervour the work begun by the founding fathers, to ensure that Africa occupies its rightful place in history and restore its dignity.
“The PAP’s oversight role is therefore important in pursuit of fostering economic growth and prosperity in Africa. The PAP remains an integral part towards the realisation of “Africa We Want” as a pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity,” she added.
Meanwhile, Judge of the African Court on Human Rights,Tujilane R. Chizumila agreed with the Deputy Minister when she noted that, “PAP plays a critical role in advancing issues to do with human rights and democracy in Africa. We are committed to working closely with PAP to protect human rights as we believe that our working together can help protect Human Rights in Africa.” Chizumila said it is important to emphasize the critical role PAP plays in “enacting laws that uphold Human Rights and women rights”.
The programme of the Committees Sitting reflects many current issues, including Model Laws on Climate Change, a timely instrument that will assist our continues respond to the adverse impacts of climate change.
At the recently concluded African Union Summit held on 18 – 18 February 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia endorsed an initiative by the Republic of Congo to launch an African and World Decade on Afforestation as a response to the accelerating climate change. In this regard, the Republic of Congo will host the first International Conference on Afforestation and Reforestation from 11 – 12 November 2023, a worth conference.
PAP delegates have been encouraged to ensure that their deliberation serves as a build-up towards the Climate Change COP28 set to take place in Dubai, from 30 November – 12 December 2023. Similarly, the Model Law of Soil Management will assist Africa to ensure food security sovereignty in view of the current global food crisis that has impacted food security in most of the countries.
The PAP as a legislative organ of the AU is currently not entrusted with legislative powers and in order to strengthen its mandate as envisaged in the 2014 Malabo Protocol to have legislative powers, the ratification of the protocol by the AU Member States to enter into force should be overemphasised.
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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP
As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.
Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.
Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.
He made a special appeal to the PAP: “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”
Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”
According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.
As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.
The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.
Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.
Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.
He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.
“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.