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PROPOSAL FOR AU COMMISSION REFORMS

The role of the African Union Commission comes up for review in July 2003. The AUF proposes that the Commission should formally have the role of civil service of the African Union. AU government employees (commissioners, peacekeepers, ambassadors, investigators, liaisons, mediators, technicians, etc) should be recruited through a merit system, with appointment, promotion, transfer, termination, training, discipline, and conditions of employment regulated by law enacted by the African Parliament. They should be prohibited, especially in the senior grades, from engaging in partisan politics.

The commission should correspond to the civil service of the African Union, headed by a Chair of the Commission, appointed by the Assembly of Heads of State, and directly responsible to the Assembly, the future Parliament, and the African Court of Justice. The commissioner should have broad responsibility for implementing Parliamentary policy in the examination, recruitment, appointment, training, and discipline of civil service personnel, as well as administer the AU pension system. The senior grades of the future organs, ministries, and cabinet-level agencies should be left to the discretion of the African Parliament.

Under this proposal the Chair of the Commission remains the most senior non-political official in the government of the African Union, and provides professional, non-partisan support to the Parliament on all policy and operational issues that may affect the government. The Chair of the Commission also has particular responsibilities with respect to: ensuring the continuity of government between successive administrations; keeping custody of the records of previous administrations; and enabling the government of the day to understand and recognize the established Pan African conventions.

The Chair of the Commission provides advice and support to the Parliament and whoever the Parliamentary leaders are in their role as leaders of the government. This includes advice on appointing senior office holders in the public service and organizing the government, on the decision-making system, overall policy directions, intergovernmental relations, and the management of specific issues.

In the event that the Parliament should choose a President as Head of State, the Chair of the Commission would be Secretary to the Cabinet, in addition to duties listed above, and would assist the President in maintaining the cohesion of the Cabinet and Presidency and giving direction to it. In this role, the Chair provides support and advice to the Cabinet to ensure that the decision-making system operates according to the Parliament’s design.

As Head of the Public Service, he or she serves as the principal link between the Parliament and the Public Service (Commission) of the African Union, and is responsible for the quality of expert, professional and non-partisan advice and service provided by the public service to the Parliament, Cabinet and to all Africans.

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