African NGOs and the Pan African Parliament

Linked with Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella – Tanzania, with Assessing the Scope of National and Supra-National Parliaments to Form African Policies, and with Southern African Regional Poverty Network SARPN.

Submission from Civil Society Organisations to the Pan African Parliament on the proposal for continental government, May 14, 2007.

Thirty-five African and international civil society organisations working in over forty African countries participated in the first Consultative Dialogue with the Pan Africa Parliament under the theme “Building Effective Mechanisms for Civil Society Engagement with Pan African and Regional Institutions”.

Aware of the 7th ordinary session of the Pan African Parliament being held under the theme of “African Union Government”, the Consultative Dialogue provided an opportunity for civil society organisations to reflect on the proposal on the Union Government in preparation for the African Union Summit in June 2007 in Accra, Ghana.

After carefully studying the Study for the Proposal for Continental Government and the Study into the Modalities for Continental Government, it is clear that without the full involvement and participation of African women and men, the vision of a Peoples Union will not be realised. In this regard, the Pan African Parliament could play a pivotal role in catalysing informed dialogue at both continental and national levels.

Consequently, we hereby recommend to Honourable Members of the Pan African Parliament that they consider including in their position on Continental Government, the following seven points:

  • Support the vision of deeper political and economic continental integration underpinned by the principles of democracy and rights based governance;
  • A commitment to inform their National Assemblies and convene public consultations before the July Summit;
  • Prioritisation in the work of the Pan African Parliament committees, the national implementation of continental legal instruments and policies;
  • A proposal to the Heads of States in July for clear consultation mechanisms for African citizens prior to all of the decision-making stages of the Continental Government;
  • A clear call to the Heads of States to immediately abolish visas for Africans travelling within Africa, as a precursor to the lifting of all restrictions on African men and women to reside, work and trade throughout Africa;
  • A further call for a clear domestic financing strategy for the proposed new functions, which may include the options of taxing air flights and other creative ways of raising revenue for the Union Government and lastly;
  • The need for increased speed in rationalising the regional economic communities so that they can become effective building blocs for continental integration.

While institutional renewal and consultation within the African Union and its Specialised Organs is important, the immense political will needed to realise political and economic integration will only be sustained if our peoples are informed and supportive of such efforts. A public mandate is necessary for Continental Government to succeed.

We urge members of the Pan African Parliament, in true recognition of their representative role, to champion this process. Lastly, we assure the Pan African Parliament of our commitment to sustain the dialogue through regular submissions and interaction.

Signed by participants from the following organisations who attended the Consultative Dialogue with the Pan African Parliament: (full text).

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