Hon. Chief Charumbira photographed with traditional dancers at PAP Day 2023 celebrations at the Pan-African Parliament seat in Midrand, South Africa. Image courtesy of Pan-African Parliament Media

PAP Day 2023 poster. Image courtesy of PAP Media

On Friday, March 17, the PAP president and speaker Honorable Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira, held a commemorative event at the seat of the African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa. Themed, “reflecting on the journey” this was the first-ever celebration event held to observe the day as the legislative institution turns 19.

The celebrations were highlighted by entertainment performances by the African Cultural Music and Dance Association (ACUMDA). A keynote lecture was delivered by a veteran member of parliament, Professor Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute, retracing the origin and context of the establishment of the PAP.

When H.E. Chief Charumbira officiated the day in 2021, it was with the intention to popularize the mandate of the institution. The date will be commemorated annually, focusing on activities that educate citizens about the Continental Parliament as well as, ignite conversations about its future in line with its mandate.

Watch the video of the 6 parliaments of PAP since 2004 here.

The 18th of March was declared Pan-African Parliament Day in 2021 by the then-acting president and Speaker, Zimbabwean Senator Hon. Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira. The day was set aside to commemorate the establishment of the African Parliament on the same day in 2004, at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The establishment of the PAP amongst the AU organs signaled a historical milestone and perhaps the most important development in the strengthening of the AU institutional architecture. It laid solid grounds for democratic governance and oversight within the African Union system and provided a formal “platform for the peoples of Africa to get involved in discussions and decision-making on issues affecting the continent.”

The genesis of the PAP can be traced back to 1991 with the adoption of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, adopted on 3 June 1991 in Abuja (also known as the Abuja Treaty). This treaty defined the pillars and grounds for realizing economic development and integration in Africa and called for the creation of a continental parliament, amongst a set of organs, as tools for the realization of African integration and economic development. This call was reemphasized in the Sirte Declaration of 1999, which called for the accelerated implementation of the provisions of the Abuja Treaty.

The PAP celebrated its ten years of existence in March 2014, a year which coincided with its adoption, on 27 June 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relates to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Malabo Protocol), once ratified by a simple majority of Member States, is expected to transform the PAP into a legislative body of the AU. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.

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