By Tendai Guvamombe
The Kwanele Foundation a South African based non-governmental organization advocating for global and continental attention on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) on Friday visited the precincts of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, Johannesburg.
They were received on behalf the President of PAP, H.E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira by the 4th Vice President of the Parliament Hon. Francois Ango Ndoutoume who welcomed the group.
Their demands were encapsulated in a memo endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer Sihle Sibisi, and encompassed issues that underlie the foundation, principles and core values of the Pan African Parliament as it relates to proscriptions against Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriages.
In his speech, Hon. Ango Ndoutoume recalled that the Pan African Parliament has been instrumental in the acceleration of the implementation of the African Union Legal Frameworks aimed at breaking the cycle of violence against women and girls particularly as manifested in the AU Strategy for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA).
Hon. Ango Ndoutoume maintained that the institutionalization of an annual Women Conference at PAP with focus on promoting gender equality, affirmative action for women across Africa, maternal health, child mortality and numerous other gender issues, is a clear recognition by the Pan African Parliament of the incredible potential of Africa’s women in building sustainable development in Africa and the intrinsic benefit of illuminating critical gender based issues. He stated that although Africa’s past history is replete with negative instances of marginalization and exclusion of women, there is a long held passion by the President of PAP Chief Fortune Charumbira to highlight the importance of constructive engagement of women in Africa’s development agenda and the need to promote gender equality, redress imbalances and generate effective prevention and response interventions at the continental and national levels on Gender Based Violence.
He stated that by also by enhancing the capacity of the PAP Women Caucus and ensuring the recognition of its establishment and codification as a permanent caucus in the recently adopted amendment to the PAP Rules of Procedure, the Bureau has demonstrated the prioritization of strengthening institution’s efforts and approaches to gender issues including most profoundly Gender-Based Violence. He noted that in the Pan African Parliament, 2 out of 5 members of the current Bureau are women.
He reaffirmed that the demands of the Kwanele Foundation for a Gender Based Violence African Summit is a welcome idea and will be operationalized by the PAP through the Women Caucus and other existing framework and institutional mechanism on gender.
The President of the Pan African Parliament has long recognized the scale of the challenge posed by GBV and has reiterated his commitment to build on global partnerships and sustainable collaborations with Member States of the African Union to advance effective approaches and interventions and develop key mitigations measures to prevent and address GBV in the continent working in collaboration with the Women Caucus and the PAP Committee on Gender.