A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)

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vailing in the country, at the time [of the elections], did not give rise to
the conduct of free, fair and credible elections" (Pan-African Parliament
Election Observer Mission 2008).

Other reports were similarly critical,

such as the one on the Kenyan elections in 2007, which were followed
by political unrest (Pan-African Parliament Election Observer Mission
2007). The parliament's plenary sessions are also often critical to-
wards prevailing conditions in Africa. Parliamentarians "

flexed their

muscle" and passed resolutions calling, for instance, upon the
Sudanese government to fully cooperate with the AU and to stop fight-
ing in the Sudanese region of Darfur (Cilliers and Mashele 2004: 73-

Yet parliamentarians are aware that their work changes little,

because the impact of the PAP is limited. With its two sessions per
year, it can raise its voice. Yet, despite its role as consultative organ,
the resolutions of the parliament on important topics, such as the
formation of the United States of Africa and a Union Government for
Africa (Pan-African Parliament 2007), frequently find no resonance by
the AU Assembly and other AU decision making bodies.

Instead of supporting the PAP, the AU member states agreed to

cut the parliament's budget by 22 per cent in 2009, making it more
difficult for the parliament to fulfil its tasks. Officials in the AU head-
quarters link the budget cut to the parliament's critical work. They
argue that the budget cut should be interpreted as an 'incentive' for the
PAP to review its work.


There are reasons to assume that some na-

tional leaders were not pleased with the reports from the observer
missions in particular, neither with the work and discussions of the
parliament in general, including the latter's critique on the status of
democracy, human rights, as well as the rule of law. One indication for
this is that the PAP election observer missions have been merged with
election observer missions of other AU organs. This was officially based
on the argument of efficiency.

Given its financial constraints, its narrow confines, and its mem-

bers' appointments instead of elections, the PAP will face obstacles to
its further development. Abrahams Peter, a member of PAP, asked
during a plenary session: "How will you become legislative with feeble
feet?" (Pan-African Parliament 2010). One might argue that African
leaders never wanted the Parliament to turn into a legislative arm. Had
this been the case, key African states, such as Nigeria and South
Africa, would have attempted to get another distribution of seats in
their favour, instead of allocating five seats to each AU member state,

Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz

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