PAP President Urges Inclusion of African MPs in Election Observation Missions, Citing European Parliament’s Participation


In a significant address [PDF] at the Annual Consultative Meeting between the Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the President of PAP, Hon. Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira, strongly advocated for the involvement of PAP in election observation missions. Chief Charumbira highlighted the practice of the European Parliament, which sends its members to observe African elections, and emphasized that excluding African elected representatives from such missions would be a relinquishment of Africa’s sovereignty to former colonizers.

European Parliament election observer mission in Sierra Leone (left), Pan-African Parliament election observer mission in Sierra Leone (right)

Chief Charumbira argued that African MPs, being products of elections in their respective countries, possess an intimate understanding of the electoral process and should not be marginalized while outsiders hold a prominent voice. “No one understands elections better than MPs who are themselves products of elections in their home countries. It would be ill-advised to sideline the voice of the African people’s elected representatives while giving prominence to outsiders,” said Chief Charumbira.

The President also pointed out several issues related to the inadequate representation of PAP MPs in election observation missions. These included insufficient communication and preparation time, exclusion of the continental parliament from pre-election planning and post-election phases, and discrepancies in travel arrangements compared to members of other organs. To enhance the credibility of observations, Chief Charumbira proposed that reports on joint election observer missions explicitly state that they are joint missions between the African Union (AU) and the PAP.

Addressing concerns raised within AU Organs regarding the role of PAP in Election Observation Missions (EOMs), Chief Charumbira expressed worry about participants at the PRC Retreat on the Reform of the AU who insisted that the PAP had no role to play in EOMs, as it was exclusively the role of the Peace and Security Council through the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security. Chief Charumbira referenced Article 3 of the PAP Protocol [PDF], which mandates the PAP to promote human rights, democracy, good governance, peace, security, and stability in Africa.

Illustration from Twitter/@bankole_adewoye

While expressing gratitude to PSC Chairperson Ambassador Sophia Nyamudeza and acknowledging the responsiveness and collaboration of the Commissioner H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adewoye after a 12-year hiatus, Chief Charumbira expressed concern over the AU’s failure to achieve lasting peace on the continent and silence the guns. He urged the PSC and PAP to collaborate in addressing ongoing armed conflicts, unconstitutional changes of government, terrorism, and violent extremism. The President emphasized the strategic position of the PAP in conflict management and resolution, highlighting the potential of parliamentary diplomacy to facilitate peace.

In addition to election observation missions, the President highlighted other areas of joint collaboration, including fact-finding missions and conflict prevention, investigation, and management. He called for synchronization between the AU Commission and PAP in fact-finding missions to avoid conflicting statements and enhance cooperation. The President also underscored the role of the PAP in promoting peace, security, and stability on the continent through popularizing AU legal instruments, participating in debates and resolutions on various conflicts, and hosting high-level dialogues on unconstitutional changes of government.

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