Ellen Nominates New Heads of APR Panel

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President Sirleaf presides over the African Peer Review Forum in_web.jpg

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as Chairperson of the African Peers Review (APR) Forum, has nominated, for consideration and appointment two prominent diplomats to head the APR Panel of eminent persons.

Those nominated by the Liberian leader include Ambassador Fatuma Nyirakobwa Ndangiza of Rwanda and Ambassador Ashraf Rashed of Egypt as the new Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, respectively, of the APR Panel.

Heads of State and Government are presently in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis-Ababa, attending the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU), where several cardinal issues including a report of activities of the AU Peace and Security Council and the state of peace and security in Africa. The AU leaders have also launched 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.

President Sirleaf made the nomination, according to a dispatch from the Ethiopia Capital, Addis-Ababa on Wednesday 29, 2014, when she chaired the 20th Summit of the Committee of Heads of State and Government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

Ambassador Ndangiza succeeds the outgoing Chairperson of the APR Panel, Barrister Akere Tabeng Muna of Cameroon, who served as a Panel Member from 2003 to January 2014. She was first appointed as member of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons at the 16th Summit of the APR Forum in January 2012. The new Vice-Chair was at the same time appointed to the APR Panel.

Additionally, President Sirleaf recommended the appointment of three distinguished Africans as new Panel Members to replace Barrister Muna (Cameroon), Barrister Jullienne Onziel Gnelenga (Congo Brazzaville) and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer (Liberia) whose four-year tenure as Panel Members expires this month.

Those preferred by the Liberian leader are: Edem Kojo (Togo), Professor Abo Mengeuel (Sudan), and Mr. Mahamoud Yossouf Khayal (Chad).

President Sirleaf lauded the outgoing panelists, for what she termed their invaluable role in the progress of APRM, “…and I look forward to your continued support to this proud Pan-African initiative.”

She pointed out that in the last 10 years, the APRM has proven itself an important tool for detecting possible fault lines in the continent’s national governance systems; has shown its strength as an early warning mechanism for emerging issues and potential crisis in some countries reviewed; and has equally provided an opportunity to showcase the best practices in some countries on the continent.

President Sirleaf maintained that Africa’s success in achieving the standards set for good governance is heavily dependent on its ability to ensure self-governance and respect for the rules, protocols, and structures that constitute the Mechanism.

She cautioned the important strengthening the lines of communication between the bodies that make up the APRM, to ensure that informed and prudent administrative decisions are made by those vested with the proper authority to make them. “This includes the implementation of the Mechanism structure which was approved by the Forum in May 2013,” she said.

She called for the vetting of staff of the APRM Secretariat with swiftness and urgency, stressing that it must be done transparently and fairly. She thanked South Africa for agreeing to undertake the hiring of a firm to facilitate the recruitment process.

President Sirleaf had recommended that the APRM Forum be made a permanent part of the African Union system, and urged the Committee of Heads of State of the Forum to support and protect the continent’s mechanism in fulfilling its mandate for the benefit of Africa.

Speaking earlier, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Haile Mariam Desalegn, expressed gratitude to President Sirleaf for the exemplary leadership of the APRM Forum.

PM Desalegn, who is also Chairperson of the Assembly of AU, said APR Forum is the means by which the continent can say no to undue interference from outside forces; and when the continent knows exactly what to do to ensure security, good governance, development and democratic rule. He hoped that more countries would accede to the APRM Process.

The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, recognized the APRM Forum as the continent’s self-monitoring mechanism that must be supported by all of its leaders.

Madam Zuma, who is the wife of South African President, Jacob Zuma, reminded the forum members that the APRM Forum was created in 2003 to help promote good governance and economic change, and insisted that the APRM represents an early warning system for potential problems in Member States.

The APR Mechanism, an initiative of the African Union that was established in March 2003 by the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), is an instrument for monitoring performance in governance among Member States, and provides support for the improvement of such performance.

Thirty-four AU Member States, including Liberia, have voluntarily acceded to the Mechanism. Seventeen countries that have completed their self-assessment have been peer-reviewed by the Forum of Heads of State and Government.

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