SOUTHERN Africa’s candidate for the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Chief Fortune Charumbira, is close to landing the presidency of the continental legislative body after the PAP executive council on Friday adopted a resolution calling for the principle of rotation in the election of its leader.
The traditional leader, who is also a Senator and president of the Chief’s Council, was nominated by the PAP Southern Africa caucus as its candidate, but elections were aborted in May this year over disagreements on whether Central and Western African countries were eligible to contest.
The adoption of the resolution comes as a sweet victory for the PAP Southern Africa caucus, which had adopted a firm and uncompromising stance in support of rotating the presidency after a contentious and chaotic elective session of the Bureau in May and June 2021.
The heated contestation at the elective session came after the Central and Western caucuses — the Francophone block — sought to block the rotation principle by attempting to apply a restrictive interpretation of rotation that negates rules of practice stated in the PAP’s rules of procedure.
The Eastern and Western Africa caucuses have held the presidency once each, the Central Africa caucus three times, while the Southern and Northern Africa caucuses have not held any position since the inception of PAP in 2004.
In a statement, the Southern Region caucus’ campaign coordinator and Chirumhanzu Member of Parliament Barbra Rwodzi confirmed that Chief Charumbira is now a shoo-in for the PAP presidency.
“Please be advised that the African Union Executive Council adopted a decision calling for the principle of rotation in the election of the Pan-African Parliament president, which means that we are inching closer to the presidency,” she said.
“We have been in Addis Ababa as PAP Zimbabwe team with the support of Southern Region PAP MPs for almost two weeks lobbying for the principle of rotation for justice and transparency at PAP with all the Foreign Affairs ministers across the continent during their Executive Council and we won yesterday (Friday).
“This is a great achievement towards our fight for geographical rotation at the Pan-African Parliament.”
Ms Rwodzi, Chief Charumbira and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Frederick Shava, who sat throughout the meeting until the early hours of Friday, arrived home yesterday from Addis Ababa.
The adoption of the resolution comes after the Southern Africa caucus presented a position paper to PAP after meeting on September 27 demanding the adoption of the principle of rotation.
In the paper, the Southern Africa caucus argued that they were “informed by the recognition of and respect for the entrenched principles of leadership, governance and administration of the organs of the African Union”.
The caucus said PAP was established by the African Union to foster unity, democracy and co-operation among African states and its leadership.
Last week, a delegation of the African Union Commission chairperson, Dr Moussa Faki, visited PAP’s Southern Africa caucus’ bureau in South Africa on a fact-finding mission.