The 3rd Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Hon. Lucia Dos Passos is to take over as the Acting President of the PAP in line with the provisions of Article 12(7) of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Protocol). Hon. Passos representing the West Africa Region will remain the Acting President until Bureau elections are held.

Also the Clerk of the Parliament, Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo is to be immediately  reinstated to her . In directing the immediate reinstatement of the Clerk, the Executive Council cited legal concerns surrounding her suspension from PAP in flagrant violation of the AU Staff Rules and Regulations.

These were part of the decisions taken during the 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) which ended today February 15, 2024 following the consideration of the draft decisions submitted by the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) which had considered the Report of the Task Force set up by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the crisis at PAP resulting from the suspension of the Rules of Procedure adopted on 04 November 2023.

Other decisions taken with respect to the situation at PAP include:

v  PAP Plenary session should be convened at the seat of the Parliament in Midrand, South Africa before the end of April 2024 to fill the vacancies in the PAP Bureau. The Commission should oversee the election process of Bureau members to ensure transparency and independence, following the guidelines developed by the Office of the Legal Counsel.

v  The suspended Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) should be reconsidered by the PAP Plenary, taking into reconsideration

the inconsistencies outlined in the Legal Opinion issued by the Office of the Legal Counsel.

v  All administrative decisions made by the Second Vice President, Hon. Dr. Ashebir W. Gayo without following established rules and due process, including recruitment, promotions, and suspensions, should be reviewed and nullified.

The AU expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of accountability in the PAP and urged PAP to ensure that its members are held accountable for any legal, financial, or reputational damage caused or that will be caused to the Union. This includes holding accountable members of the current and former PAP leadership who have been or will be found responsible for posing legal, financial, or reputational risks to the Union.

An independent and comprehensive forensic audit of the PAP’s overall administration, finances, and operations is to be conducted through the Board of External Auditors and an audit report submitted to the 45th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in July 2024.

Our Correspondent reports that Foreign Ministers who contributed to the debate including those from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa, Lesotho, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Algeria, Tunisia, Angola, Eswatini, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Mauritania, Cameroon, among others, all spoke in support of the PRC recommendations and condemned the actions of Hon. Gayo.  Only Zambia, Djibouti, Mauritius and Ethiopia spoke in support of the status quo. Interestingly, Kenya and Uganda’s Foreign Ministers were unequivocal in supporting the PRC recommendations, describing Dr. Gayo’s decisionsas a “one man show”. It is hoped that the Members of  Parliament from Uganda and Kenya who have been in the forefront of the support of Dr. Gayo will retrace their steps.

It is also worth noting AUC Chairperson in his closing remarks, condemned the ill treatment of the members of the Task Force during their fact-finding mission to the seat of PAP in Midrand, South Africa by Hon. Dr. Gayo. He stated that insulting the Taskforce members he constituted amounted and sent on a mission amounted to insulting his office and took exception to the manner the Clerk of the Parliament was suspended.