Development Legal and Parliamentary Affiars

East Africa Regional Caucus to consult on AU legal instruments


A consultative meeting of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) East African Regional Caucus will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme: Building regional consensus on AU legal instruments and promoting the ratification of the protocol to the constitutive act of the Pan-African parliament: engaging civil society organizations in the promotion of AU legal instruments, from 18 to 21 November 2019.

The meeting aims to sensitize East African countries on the ratification of the revised PAP Protocol, also known as the Malabo Protocol. The Malabo Protocol is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force. To date, 12 countries have ratified.

The gathering will address the slow pace at which member states move in respect of ratification and domestication of African Union (AU) legal instruments and will also call on stakeholders to expedite the process through engagement with civil society organisations.

The Rt. Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG, President of the PAP, has described the consultation meeting as a defining phase in the ratification journey of the PAP Protocol, given the strategic positioning of the East African region and its capacity to boost the required numbers for PAP to attain full legislative powers.

“This meeting constitutes a crucial step in rallying Eastern African countries behind the ideal of a powerful continental Parliament that can legislate for all. We held a similar gathering in the central African region in 2017 and it resulted in the ratification of the revised PAP Protocol by Cameroon, Chad and Equatorial Guinea as well as the signature by the Central African Republic. We hope to garner the same momentum from East Africa as we target 28 ratifications,” says Rt. Hon. Nkodo DANG.

He adds: “We have also been challenged by the AU Assembly to encourage national and regional Parliaments to ratify and integrate treaties adopted by the AU into their legal system. This consultation will therefore emphasize the African integration imperative to ratify and domesticate AU legal instruments as this is part of our mandate as the continental Parliament.

PAP is one of the nine organs of the African Union (AU) with the mandate to promote economic and social integration through making laws. As it stands, its mandate extends to consultation, and playing an advisory and oversight role for all AU organs pending the ratification of its protocol.

The Malabo Protocol was adopted at the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting in June 2014. The ratification journey has three steps: the signing, ratification and depositing of instruments at the African Union Commission. Out of the 13 East African countries, only Somalia and Madagascar have signed, ratified and deposited their instruments at the African Union Commission.  Comoros and Djibouti have only signed but are yet to complete the process.

Hon. Senator Janet ONG’ERA, Chairperson of the East African Regional Caucus says that the consultative meeting will encourage the remaining nine (9) countries in the region to ratify the revised Protocol.

“The particularity in these consultations is the fact that we are giving a platform to Civil Society to express their views on the status and impact of the ratification process of AU legal instruments including the Malabo Protocol. By including our citizens, we are hoping to enhance the visibility of the PAP and encourage them to pressurize the relevant authorities to speed up the ratification process,” concludes Hon. ONG’ERA.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende