A number of parliamentarians who attended the just concluded Pan-African Parliament Regional Conference on Governance, Ratification Promotion, Legislative Incorporation and Implementation of the African Union Legal Instruments on Shared Values in the Republic of Chad have alleged that they were offered bribes to induce them into endorsing the illegal takeover of the leadership of the Parliament as well as support to dump the recent amendments to the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.
The Conference which kicked off on 25 September concluded on Wednesday 27 September 2023 with debates on the Final Communiqué.
The aim of the Regional Conference was to promote the ratification, domestication, and effective implementation of African Union treaties on human rights, good governance, democracy and peace and security, in line with Agenda 2063 and the African Union’s theme for 2023.
However, those who have hijacked the leadership of the parliament saw it as an opportunity and venue to seek legitimacy by offering inducements to the parliamentarians with the expectation of getting their support to jettison the recently amended Rules of Procedure of the Parliament as well as their hostile take-over of the leadership of the Parliament.
Our Correspondent reports that a number of parliamentarians who were reportedly approached with bribes of thousands of dollars condemned the act which they described as despicable and the height of corruption. “How can the same people who are accusing the PAP President of corruption, turn around to offer money to induce the members of parliament to support them to push out the President. So who is now corrupt?” one of them queried.
While the leadership of the Regional Conference was busy addressing specific and thematic issues relating to the Central African region, for which advocacy and awareness- raising actions need to be undertaken, vis-à-vis Member States to accelerate the culture of good governance and respect for the rule of law, and to protect the fundamental freedoms and essential human rights of citizens, the bribe givers who were mainly from outside the Central Regional Caucus, invaded the venue with their cash to trade for their support.
Over the years, Pan-African Parliament’s Regional Conferences have become a platform for Member States from selected regions to review African Union human rights standards, governance, decisions, and policies, and to promote the ratification and legislative incorporation of African Union legal instruments.
However, with the leadership tussle when the President of the Parliament proceeded on leave and the apparent hostile take-over by one of the Vice Presidents, the centre appears not to be holding anymore.Another parliamentarian who felt so enraged by the bribe offer told our reporter that he secretly taped the conversation with his phone, unknown to them and would release it if they do not retrace their steps.
Said the parliamentarian “I can now understand why they have been inviting members of the parliament to Midrand for meeting”.
One of them has who heads one of the parliamentary committees, has allegedly been junketing from one country to another laying spurious allegation of corruption against the President without any shred of evidence. “We had a session last May but they could not make the allegation if they had evidence. They now want to make the allegation outside the session without giving us the opportunity to properly interrogate the allegation. And by the way, who is bankrolling the venture including trips to the various capitals and whose interests are they advancing?”
He stated that PAP MPs were happy that the newly elected Bureau was able to restore PAP to full functionality after the 2021 crisis and promised that the attempt to put the parliament into another round of crisis will fail. “They used the Central Caucus during the last crisis on rotation. We will not allow them to use us again” said one MP. “Look at how their selfish political ambition have destroyed all that” he lamented. “But we will not allow them to destroy the progress that we have made in the last year”.
“What is the point of our meeting here in the name of PAP when the plenary cannot be convened so that MPs can have a say on the issues affecting the parliament?” he concluded.