|Hon. Dr.Bernadette Lahai, Member of Pan-African Parliament/|
by E.K.Bensah Jr, Addis, Ababa
Being a Pan-african Parliamentarian is not quite well cut out as it appears. I had the priviledge of interviewing Hon Dr.Bernadette Lahai (also MP in Sierra Leone Parliament) who bemoaned the poor visibility of the Pan-African Parliament(PAP)--even in Midrand, South Africa, where it is located. "Not even the South African Broadcasting Corporation(SABC) gives publicity to our work", she said, neither do BBC or Al-Jazeera. In the light of this poor visibility, explained her colleague Jacob Odade, the PAP was focussing on communication as their strategic focus.
Hon, Dr.Lahai explained how, despite possessing an African Union diplomatic passport, she was compelled to show her national passport as well when at the airport in South Africa. Additionally, at a time when the PAP has embarked on a Communication strategy that stresses visibility of PAPs, there is no visibility of a new protocol that would seek to make PAP a legislative tool, with binding decisions--as seen at the East African Legislative Assembly(EALA). This new protocol seeks to also make Members of the Pan-African Parliament permanent for 5(five) years so they can dedicate more work to the continental legislature, and needs 28 member states before it comes into effect. To date, no country has yet to ratify it since it was tabled at the PAP in 2014.
This new protocol would also allow for the establishment of so-called "PAP desks" at the ministries of Foreign Affairs of Member States. This would not have to be new paid-for positions, avers the PAP, but could be positions added onto other staff of the Ministry. She was worried by the fact that each AU Member State sends five members to the PAP, but most often, many citizens are unable to explain what the PAPs are doing for the benefit of their nation.
|Jacob Odade, of Pan-African Parliament|
Pressed on whether she would prefer the Pan-African Parliament re-locating to the home of the African Union here in Addis, she said that would not be a bad idea, as it would be easier for the legislature to have consultative meetings with the African Union Commission, and its Commissioners -- which it already does.
Hon. Dr.Lahai is Chairman of the Committee on Transport, Industry, Communication, Energy, Science & Technology(TICEST), which is aligned to the African Union's own structures
VIDEO CLIP (below): Listen to Hon. Dr.Bernadette Lahai, member of the Pan-African Parliament speak to the issue of WHY Data is important to Africa's integration. As an agriculturalist, she says the book that has just been launched --"The Emerging Data Revolution in Africa"-- will be referred to at the Pan-African Parliament for policy discussions.
Listen to Hon. Dr.Bernadette Lahai, member of the Pan-African Parliament speak to the issue of WHY Data is important to Africa's integration. As an agriculturalist, she says the book that has just been launched --"The Emerging Data Revolution in Africa"-- will be referred to at the Pan-African Parliament for policy discussions.
Posted by Emmanuel K Bensah Jr on Saturday, March 28, 2015