Nov 6, 2013, 11:24 AM
Midrand, Johannesburg – The fifth ordinary session of the second Pan-African Parliament (PAP) opened Tuesday in Midrand, South Africa, with a call from its president Hon Dr. Moussa Idriss Ndélé to the members to contribute to the Pan-African Parliament solidarity fund for the people of Somalia.
The president also congratulated the 28 newly sworn-in members, representing eight African countries, while reiterating his commitment to work towards the transformation of the PAP into a legislative body.
The session was also addressed by the minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, a former member of the PAP, who spoke about the democratic transformation of his country.
The African Union recently lifted sanctions imposed on the West African nation, following the military coup that led to the country’s suspension.
“It is with great pleasure that Niger rejoins the Pan-African Parliament,” he said.
After successful elections earlier this year, the AU welcomed Niger back.
H.E. Bazoum also informed the House that Niger has now ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, making it the thirteenth African country to do so. The PAP is continuing with a campaign to advocate for securing the ratification of this charter by at least fifteen countries before the end of this year.
Representing the President of Equatorial Guinea and current chairperson of the African Union, the Second Vice President of the Parliament of Equatorial Guinea, Mrs. Evangelina Oyo Ebule, said her President was concerned with the issues that affect the African continent which include the continuous conflicts in Africa, which constitute a threat to peace, stability and the cohesion of Africa. She called on African institution sto find solutions to these problems by dialoguing at national and international level.
She said the role of women should be properly dealt with and that the African Union gives the utmost importance to the integration of youth in the process of peace and development.
“I hope the debates will also discuss issues on women in our society and report on the aspirations of the African people,” she said.
There are growing concerns amongst African leaders that little is being done to address conflicts which are ravaging many parts of Africa, The president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Hon. Justice Gerard Niyungeko said.
Addressing the House, Justice Gerard Niyungeko called upon African countries and institutions to build a direct dialogue that will mainly address conflicts and wars in many countries in Africa.
Justice Niyungeko also reiterated that divisions were another concerning issue. He urged leaders to encourage solidarity amongst its own people. However, he acknowledged that many leaders are on the right track in terms of working together.
He cited the recent African Union International Donor Conference.
The conference was held at the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa in August 2011. The donor conference was aimed at raising funds to help fight against the drought that is currently affecting the countries of the Horn of Africa.