African parliaments urged to speak with one voice

By Tendai Munengwa

Speaker of National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda and President of the Senate, Honourable Mabel Chinomona this Thursday joined their counterparts from the African continent at the 11th Conference of Speakers of National and Regional Parliaments in Midrand South Africa.

The Conference, being hosted by the Pan African Parliament, PAP is aimed at re-invigorating the PAP oversight and advisory role over the African Union.

In his keynote address at the conference, President of the Pan African Parliament Senator Chief Fortunate Charumbira called for unity among all African parliaments, urging them to speak with one voice on rebuilding the image of PAP which was dented over past years.

Re-convening the continental parliament after a three year break owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the PAP President outlined the need to come up with post COVID-19 recovery strategies as top priority.

“PAP has not convened for three years and I am delighted that speakers of national and regional parliaments have come together to collaborate with us in discussing challenges facing our African citizens in the aftermath of COVID- 19. We need to speak with one voice on these issues affecting our continent. Language must not be a barrier to fight for a common cause to rebuild the image of PAP and enable it to play its oversight and advisory role to the African Union,” he said.

Senator Chief Charumbira decried the failure by the African Union to present its budget for approval by PAP, which is the accounting watchdog for the continental body.

“PAP was established in 2004 to oversee the operations of the AU and make resolutions on behalf of the citizens but since then the AU has never presented its budget to PAP and this must be corrected,” he added.

The two day conference is expected to deliberate on other key issues including the role of PAP towards achieving AU Agenda 2063 and the Malabo Protocol which has been ratified by 14 out of 55 countries.