Friday, November 17, 2006

Pan-African Parliament News: DRC Elections; Sudan Debate; Presidential Address

MIDRAND 16 November 2006 Sapa


The Pan African Parliament (PAP) on Thursday urged the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to accept the outcome of the election.

PAP president Gertrude Mongella said it was time for the DRC to move beyond its conflicts and start developing.

"The people have suffered for a long long time... the more
conflict continues, the more the resources are being depleted and taken out of the country," she said.

PAP was on Thursday discussing peace and security on the

The DRC Independent Electoral Commission announced that
President Joseph Kabila was the winner with 58.05 percent of the votes against rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba's 41.9 percent.

Bemba's camp had already cried foul.

"The one who cannot accept defeat is not a competitor," Mongella said.

JOHANNESBURG 16 November 2006 Sapa


The question on whether the United Nations (UN) should intervene in Sudan's troubled Darfur region led to a heated debate in the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand on Thursday.

Several Arab-speaking countries said the UN was being controlled by western powers who wanted to intervene to get to Sudan's oil, while others asked why the intervention had not yet happened.

The Speaker had to cut off several speakers who went over their allowed time during the debate in Parliament.

"In the past, Africa was colonised because of greed and wealth, because we have oil, diamonds, gold, uranium. And now that same old greed is returning," said Boudina Mostefa, a parliamentarian from Algeria, about UN plans to deploy a peace mission to Darfur.

"I will not let anyone come into my house and solve my problems. I'm a man and I will solve my problems myself," Egyptian parliamentarian El-Gendi Mostafa said.

He said to deploy UN troops in Darfur would be to kill the
African Union (AU).

However, Imbia Sylvester, a parliamentarian from Cameroon,
reminded parliamentarians that African countries were also part of the UN.

"The UN includes Africans. The UN peacekeeping force, therefore, not only consists of American and European troops," he said.

South African parliamentarian, Nefolovhodwe Pandezani, in
apparent contrast to his own government which supports a UN
deployment in Darfur, screamed out after his microphone was cut off that the west was after oil in Sudan.

"They are after the oil! I tell you, they are after the oil," he shouted.

The UN had planned to replace the 7000-strong AU mission in
Darfur with over 20,000 UN peacekeepers, but Khartoum strongly opposes the move.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he is working on a
compromise for UN and AU peacekeepers to operate jointly in Darfur.

On Wednesday Annan underlined that he had "not given up the
idea" of sending in UN forces.



Communication by the President of the Pan-African Parliament,
On the Occasion of the Opening of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament, Gallagher Estate, Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Hon. Dr. Amb. Gertrude I Mongella, MP
Precincts of the PAP
Midrand, Johannesburg,
Republic of South Africa. November 13, 2006

It is with great pleasure that I wish to welcome you all on this auspicious occasion to mark the Official Opening of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

I extend my congratulations to the Honorable Members who have been reelected and to welcome the new Members on their election to this August Assembly of the Pan African Parliament. This 13th day of November 2006 will stand to be remembered as a land mark in the history of PAP. This is particularly because we shall shortly be joined by one of Africa’s greatest personalities H.E Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa, whom I will have another occasion to introduce.

A number of distinguished guests have been invited from within and without Africa to take part in this Session. I thank them for accepting to grace this occasion with their presence. I would like to recognize the presence of the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, the Vice President of the German Bundestag, Dr Sussane Kastner, the Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Dr. Kasuka Mutukwa, Mr Dick Toonstra from the European Parliament, Madam Farma Ba of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the Mayor of Johannesburg, Councilor Amos Masondo.

Since the Fifth Ordinary Session in May, great strides have been made towards achieving the PAP objectives as stipulated in the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament. The respective Permanent Committees have dedicated all their efforts to setting out activities to be covered in the Strategic Plan of PAP 2006-2010 and have successfully prepared for the business to be covered in this Session.

I was honored to present the Pan-African Parliament Report for the Period January to June, 2006 to the 7th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Banjul, Gambia, which took place from 1st to 2nd July 2006. At that meeting, I draw the attention of the Heads of State and Government to, among others;
(i) the deliberations and recommendations of the Fifth Session of PAP,
(ii) the activities of PAP according to the Strategic Plan 2006-2010 that was adopted by this August House,
(iii) the challenges regarding the institutional capacity of PAP and
(iv) the progress made by PAP so far.

It gives me immense pleasure to report that the following positive steps have been and are being taken to address the issues raised above:
(i) The 2006 PAP Budget of 11,968,060 USD as was proposed by this House in the Fifth Session was wholly adopted by the AU.
(ii) The flow of remittances from the AU Commission has tremendously improved. To date a total of 7.8 Million USD has been remitted to the PAP account from the AU Commission

The financial plan for the implementation of the PAP Strategic Plan of 2006-2010 has been completed. The Permanent Committees have adopted workplans with clearly defined activities and timeframes for their implementation. The above efforts of the Committees could not have been possible without the invaluable technical and financial support we continue to enjoy from our partners namely the Germany Technical Foundation (GTZ), Europeans Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) to mention but a few.

In the same breathe, I wish to state that the activities highlighted above are geared to enable PAP assume its Legislative role within AU as soon as possible.

One of the key issues in the Fifth session was the rationalization of the RECs. As a result, the Bureau has approved a series of regional workshops for further deliberation on the issues pertaining thereto. The first of these regional workshops took place from the 22nd -23rd September, 2006 in Arusha, Tanzania. The other workshops will take place before the end of 2007.

The staff recruitment process continues in order to boost the Secretariat’s capacity to effective ly service the work of PAP and its Committees. Since the Fifth session, a total of 39 out of the 94 budgeted permanent staff members have been recruited. More will be brought on board before the end of the year, depending on the remittances of funds from the AU Commission.

The Sixth Ordinary Session will focus on the on the following areas:
(i) The dynamics and ramifications of migration (the returnees, internally displaced persons, refugees, trafficking of people, brain drain etc) and the impact on the social-political and economic situation in Africa;
(ii) The NEPAD Report on the status of implementation of sectoral activities and prospects;
(iii) Deliberations and debate on the APRM Country Reports,
(iv) Peace and Security in Africa;
(v) The PAP 2007 Budget and the Audit Reports for 2004 and 2005.

The following are noteworthy about the Budget; among others, it is, intended to:
(i) Lead to institutional capacity building in terms of technical and human resource.
(ii) Empower the Parliamentarians to carry out their mandate.
(iii) Lay the foundation for PAP to assume its legislative role.

Therefore deliberations on the budget should take that background into consideration.

It is now my noble duty to formally declare the Sixth Ordinary Session Open.

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