Magazine article New Internationalist

Winds of Change: Can the New Pan-African Parliament Bring Peace to Africa?

Magazine article New Internationalist

Winds of Change: Can the New Pan-African Parliament Bring Peace to Africa?

Article excerpt

'Our continent has decided where to go. And we have established the institutions to take us to this destination,' according to the South African President Thabo Mbeki. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) at its permanent seat in Johannesburg in September.

In its first five years of existence, the 265-member PAP will mainly serve in an advisory and consultative capacity to the African Union (AU). The AU's 53 member states will each send five representatives drawn from national parliaments to the PAP, including at least one woman. In 2009, the Parliament will be given teeth: the power to make laws.

While the creation of a continent-wide legislature is undoubtedly historic, it has yet to elicit universal support in Africa. So far, only 46 African countries have ratified the assembly's protocols. Fear of PAP intervention may explain why Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, GuineaBissau, Liberia, Sào Tomé and Príncipe, and Somalia have yet to ratify. …

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