Uganda Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga presenting her case at PAP.

The 8th Annual Conference of Speakers’ of African Parliaments meeting in Midrand, South Africa has resolved that Speakers of regional and national parliaments urge their respective governments to ratify the Malabo Protocol and deposit instruments of ratification with the African Union Commission.

The Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) on the Pan African Parliament (PAP) was adopted by the assembly of the Union in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, with major revisions to the original Protocol of 2001.

The amendments relate to increase in representation of women from one out of five designated Members of Parliament per country to two. It provides for election of Parliamentarians to the PAP outside the membership of national parliaments.

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The new Protocol seeks to see PAP move away from being merely a consultative and advisory organ to one with full legislative functions. The tenure of a PAP Member would also not be tied to the national Parliaments.

According to the text of the communiqué that Speakers endorsed on Friday, August 5, 2016, they agreed to strengthen regional parliaments as a way of enhancing regional integration and attainment of a continental parliament with full legislative powers.

The communiqué also calls for a consultative process that includes civil society and other stakeholders in the ratification of the revised protocol of the PAP.

The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga, called for increased funding to the PAP by the member states to enable it meet its mandate. She also proposed increasing visibility of the AU among the population.

“Apart from working with civil society, I think there is a bigger constituency of the population. Now that we have something to market in form of an African passport, I want to include a provision that members of the PAP and member states popularize the African Union to the population because it is too far from the people,” Kadaga said.

To date, only two member states, Mali and Sierra Leone, have ratified and deposited the Protocol.

For the Protocol to come into force, 28 Member States have to ratify and deposit it.