Pan–African parliament and civil society: towards representing the voices of the people

29 June 2016

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) plays a major role in the democratisation process and the harmonisation of relations with civil society organisations (CSOs) for socio-economic and political development to be realised in Africa. It has a responsibility, in line with its objectives, to work towards incorporating and representing the voices of the people, which includes the promotion of human rights and democratic institutions. The PAP forum offers a congenial and functional platform to close the gap between governments and the people. People-participation at parliamentary and state levels is an essential ingredient for cooperation and potent governance. T he article analyses critically the operational performance of the PAP and the execution of its mandate as far as civil society engagement is concerned. This critical analysis is important, because the findings of the study could contribute to democracy and the rule of law in Africa. From its inception, PAP envisaged to safeguard human rights and governance structures based on lasting synergies with civic institutions. However, a lack of synchronisation of activities has deleteriously impacted on the practise of good governance in Africa. The apparent failure by PAP to promote an articulate civil society presents the African continent with many democracy-related challenges. Utilising secondary literature, including CSO publications, the article examines PAP’s achievements and evaluates insights into the PAP–CSOs relationship.