Parliament without powers

“This is the third time I have cried as an adult” says the 60 year old immediate past President of Pan African Parliament, Dr. Moussa Idriss Ndele who was overwhelmed by emotion while responding to tributes by his colleagues after presenting his activity report of the second parliament in Midrand, South Africa.
From May 2009 to May 28, 2012, Dr. Ndele citizen of Republic of Chad and representative of Central Africa Region served as President of the Pan African Parliament.
After presenting his report to the seventh ordinary session of Pan African Parliament, members of parliament from across the continent took turns to praise what many of them described as exemplary leadership.
In Africa, where effective leadership is a scarce currency, it is understandable that Dr. Ndele’s colleagues poured encomiums on him for the array of reforms he introduced during his three year tenure as president.
Hon. Isaac Stephen Mabiletsa from Botswana compared the decision of Dr. Ndele not to seek re-election with Nelson Mandela’s and insisted that the outgoing president had put the body on the path to progress. He expressed the hope that the new leadership will sustain the reforms introduced by the outgoing executive.
Hon. Cecilia Atim-Ogwal representing Uganda acknowledged the commitment of the leadership of the parliament to gender equity and women empowerment.
Other representatives spoke of Dr. Ndele’s humility, patience, and dedication especially his willingness to admit errors and grace to provide remedy to mistakes.
Earlier, Dr. Ndele had presented a report of his administration that included political and institutional accomplishments.
He spoke of efforts to accelerate the ratification of the African charter on democracy, elections, and governance through an effective interaction with the representatives of civil society, media, and the African Union Commission.
“The Pan- African Parliament is conscious of its political obligations which are to contribute to the entrenchment of democracy and good governance in Africa”, said Dr. Ndele while accounting for the body’s role in observing elections in the continent.
However, the fact that Pan African Parliament remained a consultative body with no legislative powers will go down as one of the challenges unresolved by Dr. Ndele and his team.

Other administrative challenges included the legal actions taken against some members of staff who allegedly engaged in financial misconduct.
The Chairperson of the Committee on Administration and Financial Evaluation- CAFÉ, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta who also presented a report detailed the secretariat’s administrative and financial challenges.
Hon. Jatta from Gambia spoke of the reliance of the secretariat to donor agencies some of which had stopped funding PAP for various reasons including perceived mismanagement of resources.

Department for International Development (DFID)—UK Government Department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty decided to end relations with Pan African Parliament in 2010 following a 2009 report that noted serious financial irregularities in the administrative procedures of PAP.
According to Hon. Jatta, DFID severed relations with PAP despite the fact there was no evidence to prove that PAP had misappropriated any funds from DFID which also lobbied other donor agencies to cease further support to PAP.
For what intends to be the apex law making institution in the continent to depend on external financing is telling about the long road towards Africa’s genuine political and economic independence.
Yet, in Jatta’s report, members of parliament who currently travel on economy class while on official duties are demanding a change of that policy so that they could fly on business class.
Such requests are emblematic of Africa’s leadership challenges: many of her leaders are more interested in the perks of office rather than a commitment to serve and sacrifice for the people.
The honor to serve is expected to override every other personal or profligate desire especially in a climate of poor financial standing of Pan African Parliament.
The highlight of the seventh session of Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was the election of a new President. He is Hon. Bethel Nnaemeka AMADI, MP from Nigeria, and former First Vice President of the body
In his farewell speech, the outgoing President, Dr. Moussa Idriss Ndélé congratulated Hon. Amadi on his election and praised him for his hard work and dedication and expressed the hope that he would utilize the experience gained while he was Vice President.

Dr. Moussa Idriss Ndele former President of Pan African Parliament