A seamless opening ceremony paves the way for PAP Bureau By-elections


The Extraordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) commenced yesterday at the Parliament’s Headquarters in Midrand, South Africa. The occasion was marked by the swearing-in of approximately 45 new members of Parliament who were deployed to serve in the Continental Legislature.

The gathering served as a prelude to the by-election for the three vacant positions in the PAP Bureau, scheduled for the 25 March 2024. In her keynote address to the Plenary, Hon. Lucia Dos Passos, Acting President of the PAP, reiterated a poignant message of unity and urged all members to seize this pivotal moment to rejuvenate the PAP's operations, ensuring they effectively serve the diverse interests of the African citizenry.

“I firmly believe that the recent leadership crisis has offered us a unique opportunity to chart a new path. I therefore call on all Members of Parliament to put aside their differences and unite for the greater good of our institution and the continent. Let us learn from the experiences of the past and make sure we do not return to the events that previously led to the suspension of Parliamentary activities. By proposing that delegations to our Parliament be comprised of the ruling and opposition parties as well as women and the youth, the founding fathers believed that the motto "One Africa, One Voice" is possible,” said Hon. Dos Passos.

The Acting President also reminded members of Parliament that the Extraordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament was being held at a crucial time in the evolution of the institution.

“This session is of enormous significance as it coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the Pan-African Parliament. As we reflect on the last two decades, it is essential to keep in mind the objectives of the Pan-African Parliament, as well as the 7 Aspirations of the African Union's Agenda 2063. In this vein, I urge our colleagues to embrace the spirit of Pan-Africanism, to face the future head-on, and to reaffirm that we can, we want to, and we will turn challenges into opportunities to give hope back to the African people and the immense diaspora. It is possible to have a Prosperous and Inclusive Africa,” Hon. Dos Passos told African Parliamentarians.

The Extraordinary Session of the PAP is in line with the deliberations of the 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, held in Addis Ababa, from 14 to 15 February 2024, concerning the situation at the Pan-African Parliament. The Council also directed the Office of Legal Counsel to devise guidelines for the election process. In line with the guidelines and the principle of rotation that has been in effect since June 2022, these vacancies will be filled, respectively, by the Southern Caucus (President), Northern Caucus (First Vice President), and Central Caucus (Fourth Vice President).

The opening ceremony was followed by meetings of the Regional Caucuses to nominate candidates for the positions of President and Vice Presidents.