“The Women of Africa shall not be emancipated by word of mouth”- Keth Katumile Masire, ex-president of Botswana has said at the seventh annual conference of Speakers of Parliaments from member states of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.
The Botswana former leader and guest of honour, challenged Africa to do more than just ratify conventions and actually empower women on the continent.
“Conventions are easy to ratify and adopt but hard to implement” Keth Katumile Masire, told the legislators.
“The quota of African female parliamentarians is better than that of Europe today, but I believe more can be done” Edna Madzongwe, Senate President Zimbabwe told Fonka’s Perspective.
Even though Africa prides itself of a relatively good gender quota, more can be done in line with the slogan “2015: The year of Women’s empowerment and development towards Africa’s 2063 agenda.”
Various speakers noted that vesting women with real opportunities and influence will do the continent a lot of good.
Security is also expected to feature prominently in the discussions as AQMI, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram terrorist groups are wreaking havoc in North, West and Central Africa. In memory of the victims of such violence notably women and children, the continent’s parliamentary leaders observed a minute of silence.
Opening the consultation, the President of the Parliament, Roger Nkodo Dang, called for greater collaboration between national parliaments and the Pan-African Parliament. As expected, the president pressed for the ratification of the Pan-African Parliament protocol agreement, and the improvement of relations with not just national parliaments but African people as a whole.
Roger Nkodo Dang, decried the fact that so far only six AU states have approved their convention with the PAP, and praised Mali the lone country to have ratified it.
In his opening address, the President of the parliament, set the tone of the fourth legislature, promising greater transparency in the management of the parliament’s finances, telling his peers he will push for the AU to empower the body by increasing its funding.
The August session was marked by the Sitting of the parliament’s ten Committees and the Speakers Conference on Thursday August 6, 2015.
The committees have been working on continental concerns ranging from infrastructure, technology, youth employment, gender and human rights, to finance, trade, and immigration.