President Charumbira’s Quest for PAP Reform: Will It Succeed?


Chief Fortune Charumbira in Kigali, Rwanda

The President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), Chief Fortune Charumbira, is leading a delegation to the retreat on African Union (AU) Institutional Reforms and the second decade of Agenda 2063 in Kigali, Rwanda. This critical gathering aims to discuss the necessary institutional changes and reforms required to position the AU and its affiliated institutions, including the PAP, to effectively deliver on the ambitious vision of Agenda 2063. While Chief Charumbira has been actively engaging with reform implementation teams and stressing the importance of the PAP’s unique role, it remains to be seen whether his quest for PAP reform will ultimately succeed.

Pan-African Parliament Presidents. Image by BGC Agency

The reform of the PAP is a crucial component of the AU’s commitment to becoming a people-centered institution and realizing the aspirations outlined in Agenda 2063. As the only continental Parliament, the PAP has the potential to ensure the active participation and representation of all African citizens in the AU’s affairs. President Charumbira, who assumed office in June 2022, has been at the forefront of advocating for a more powerful and well-resourced PAP that can effectively fulfill its mandate as outlined in the African Union Constitutive Act.

The retreat in Kigali has brought together various stakeholders, including the AU Permanent Representatives’ Committee, African Union Organs, and the Regional Economic Communities. The reform agenda emphasizes the need to prioritize key objectives on a continental scale, realign AU institutions to ensure they can effectively achieve their goals, improve operational efficiency, and establish sustainable self-financing mechanisms for the Union. Additionally, discussions will also focus on the second ten-year plan of Agenda 2063, which spans from 2024 to 2033.

African Union Officials pose for a group photo in Kigali, Rwanda. Image courtesy of PAP Media

Since assuming leadership of the PAP, President Charumbira has held multiple engagements with the team responsible for leading Institutional Reforms. These discussions have focused on ensuring that the unique role of the PAP as a Continental Parliament, designed to represent the aspirations of the citizenry, is adequately considered during the reform process. Moreover, the Bureau of the PAP has also collaborated with Prof. Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, Head of the Reform Implementation Unit, and his team to provide valuable inputs on enhancing the Parliament’s effectiveness and relevance.

However, the success of his quest for PAP reform cannot be guaranteed. The process of institutional reform within the AU is complex, involving multiple stakeholders and differing interests. Achieving consensus on reforms that meet the expectations of all member states and effectively address the challenges faced by the PAP will be a significant challenge. The outcome of the reform process will depend on various factors, including political will, resource allocation, and the commitment of member states. The success of PAP reform hinges on the willingness of member states to invest in the necessary institutional capacity and empower the Parliament to fulfill its role effectively.

The ultimate success of PAP leadership’s quest remains uncertain, as the complex nature of the AU reform process and the diverse interests of member states may present significant challenges. The next few days of discussions will be crucial in determining whether President Charumbira’s efforts will result in a more powerful and effective PAP that can contribute significantly to the realization of Agenda 2063 and the aspirations of the African people.

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