Business & Finance

JOHANNESBURG, The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will open the 6th Ordinary Session of the Fourth Sitting of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Monday.

The PAP, which will sit for two weeks, will also elect its President and four vice-presidents for the next three years. They will each represent the five sub-regions of the continent.

The main highlight is the elections, the other highlight in some years we have the chair of the African Union Commission as a guest of honour, said PAP Clerk Vypia Harawa over the weekend.

The Pan African Parliament was established in 2004 as one of the arms of the African Union. It was intended to make laws for the continent but up to now it has only played an advisory role. This year as in its 14th year it will get another president, the fifth.

Each of the 55 member countries is represented by five MPS. The election is by a simple majority vote. The Northern sub-region has six countries while the Southern sub-region has 10 countries.

Some MPs say without a rule for rotation among sub-regions like the North, which has already nominated a candidate, may never assume the presidency. There is no rule for rotation, the current sitting made a rule to be incorporated in the revised protocol; until that protocol is ratified it remains a principle not a rule, said Harawa.

More than 80 Members of Parliament from the continent will be sworn as new members of the Pan African Parliament. Four of the new members will be from South Africa representing the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Names attracting attention include the National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Modise and Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.

Only five of the 55 countries have ratified the Malabo Protocol, an agreement to give the parliament more legislative powers. Until all countries ratify the Protocol, the parliament remains an advisory body.