Members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe delegation designated to the Pan – African Parliament were yesterday sworn in as Members of the 5th Parliament of the Pan – African Parliament at an official function to mark the opening of the 1st Ordinary Session of the 5th Pan African Parliament at the Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda.
The delegation led by President of the Council of Chiefs, Hon. Senator Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira comprises the following Members of Parliament:- Hon. Pupurai Togarepi who is the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Barbara Rwodzi – ZANU PF, Hon. Stars Mathe – ZANU PF and Hon. Dr. Tapiwa Mashakada from the MDC Alliance. The delegation whose composition is in conformity with the provisions of Article 4 (3) of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan – African Parliament which provides that:- “At least two (2) of the elected members , shall be women. A delegation which dos not satisfy this requirement shall not have the right to be accredited for representation in the Parliament”, was sworn in along with delegations from Angola, Chad, Niger, Rwanda and Sierra Leonne.
The 1st Ordinary Session running under the theme, “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”, will run until 3 November 2018 in the beautiful city of Kigali in the country of a 1000 mountains, Rwanda. In his remarks during the opening session, President of the PAP, Roger Nkodo Dang lamented the rich human and natural resources that Africa possesses but does not benefit from.
He emphasised the need for Parliamentarians to play a role in curbing corruption within the continent citing that corruption is a cancer whose economic cost is high and has ripple effects to various areas of African economies, thus impeding Africa’s growth.
The President of the PAP also touched on the need to ratify the Revised Malabo Protocol that would give legislative powers to the PAP to become a full-fledged parliament with legislative powers on the continent. In that regard, he appointed President Kagame the Champion for the Ratification of the Malabo Protocol and requested him to assist the PAP seek the required ratifications for the Protocol to enter into force.
The Session was officially opened by His Excellency President Paul Kagame whose address anchored on the integration of the African continent and the fight against corruption for the development of Africa. He also emphasised the need to observe good governance as well as coming up with home-grown innovations and solutions for the development of Africa. Touching on the AU budget for 2019, President Kagame indicated that the AU’s budget for 2019 was 12 % smaller and also highlighted the success of the peace fund which has continued to grow since its formation in 1993. He encouraged the Members of the PAP to continue to monitor peace and security matters across the continent.
Also present and delivered solidarity statements during the opening ceremonies were Speakers from the flowing parliaments:-Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti, Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania and His Excellency Hon. Martin K. Ngoga, Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). Their solidarity statements resonated on the theme of the session which is derived from the AU theme for 2018.
Following the swearing in ceremony, members of the Zimbabwe delegation were appointed to Committees as follows:- Hon. Barbara Rwodzi will serve on the Committee on Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA) together with Hon. Julius Malema of South Africa and Hon. Roy Banda of Malawi, Hon. Mathe will be a Member of the Monetary and Financial Affairs, Hon. Togarepi will represent the country on the Cmmittee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline that is chaired by Hon. Santosh Vinita Kalyan of South Africa and Hon. Dr. Mashakada will sit on the Committee on Trade Customs and Immigration Matters, a Committee that he chaired during the just ended 4th parliament of the PAP.
The Zimbabwe delegation will have a lot to take home from this session. The Session will receive presentations on Rwanda’s Socio – Economic Transformation, a topic that will be useful at a time the new dispensation under the able leadership of His Excellency Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa is striving to turn around the economy and transform the country into a middle economy in line with the President’s Vision 2030. Also up for debate during the session are issued around corruption, food security, peace and security as well as the AU’s theme for 2019, “Year of Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement”.