By MUHAMMED .S. BAH
Law makers on Monday, 20 June 2016, ratified the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan African Parliament. The motion was presented before the Law makers by Mama Fatima Singhateh, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.In presenting the Bill, the Attorney General and Justice Minister told the law makers that the protocol establishing the Pan African Parliament was adopted in 2000 during the organisation of the African Unity Summit held in Lome, Togo.
“Although, this protocol recognised the Pan African parliament as a legislative organ of the African Union, it in fact has very limited powers for ten years and was able to act as a consultative assembly,” she said.
She noted that there is need to give full power to the Pan African Parliament and for it to be able to attain its mandate as a new protocol called the Malabo Protocol was adopted by heads of states and government in June 2014.
The Attorney General said that by virtue of this Protocol, the mandate of the Pan African Parliament has been extended, giving it new legislative powers to propose, legislate and draft model laws for consideration and adoption by legislators from member states.
She further stated that for the protocol to come into effect, 28 ratifications are needed, adding that only 3 countries had ratified this protocol.
She disclosed that Gambia will be amongst the first member states to ratify it, adding that as at now 4 National Assembly Members are representing the Gambia in the Pan African Parliament and who attend its sessions annually.
“This shows that we, as a country, have a serious stake in ensuring that this body has the tools to carry out its mandate,” said Madam Singhateh.
The Attorney General added “Given our position as a Pan Africanist Nation, it therefore goes without saying that we want to be amongst the countries to ratify this Protocol and give voice to the African people and facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union among other things.”
In seconding the Motion, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Majority Leader and National Assembly Member (NAM) for Serekunda East, described it as a historic moment. He noted that members of the PAN African Parliament were first sworn in 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“The establishment of the Pan African Parliament by the African visionary leaders is informed by a vision to provide a common platform for the African people living in the continent and the diaspora and other organisations to be more involved in the discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges of the continent, and further enhance speedy achievement of the aspirations of the African people for the greater unity solidarity and cohesion,” he said.
Other NAMs also supported the motion which was later ratified by the National Assembly.