Columbus Mabika Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe is now more likely to lead the Pan African Parliament (PAP) after the African Union Commission has thrown its weight behind the principle of rotation for the position of Parliamentary President which has been occupied by Western and Northern African countries since the inception of the continental body in 2004.
Chiefs Council President Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira was nominated by the PAP Southern Africa caucus as its candidate, but elections were aborted in May this year over disagreements on whether or not candidates from Northern and Western African countries were eligible given that they had occupied the office before. Last week, a delegation of the African Union Commission chairperson, Mr Moussa Faki, was in South Africa on a fact finding mission to resolve the impasse where, upon completion of the visit, they emphasised that their deliberations with stakeholders focused on the implementation of the principle of rotation.
The observation of the commission is set to give credence to the argument by Southern African countries that there was need to rotate the presidency as envisaged by the founding principles of the organ. “A high-level delegation of the African Union Commission (AUC), deployed by H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, has wrapped up its working visit to the seat of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa. The mission formed part of the fact-finding exercise undertaken by the Chairperson of the AUC on the circumstances surrounding the suspension of the elective ordinary session of the PAP in May 2021,” reads part of the statement. “Deliberations revolved around the implementation of the principle of rotation for the position of President of the PAP; security arrangements during PAP meetings; and the overall mandate of the PAP in line with the upcoming institutional reforms of the AU.
“The findings of the ongoing inquiry will form part of a report by the Chairperson of the AUC to the Permanent Representatives Committee, ahead of the meeting of the Executive Council of the AU slated for mid-October, which will provide the way forward for the resumption of the PAP Parliamentary activities.”
Elections of the PAP Presidency failed to take off in May after legislators from Southern Africa led by Zimbabwean legislator Barbara Rwodzi and South Africa’s EFF leader Mr Julius Malema protested over the failure to observe the principle of rotation when Northern and Western African countries intended to put forward a candidate.
They argued that Chief Charumbira, who has been acting president since March following the expiry of term for Bouras Djamel of Algeria, should assume the presidency.
Chief Charumbira was the fourth vice president of the continental body since 2018.
In its position paper, Southern Africa regional caucus, said the principle of rotation remained an established practice within the African Union that conceived PAP in 2004.
“The principle of geographical rotation is an established practice within the African Union that has guided the Pan African Parliament since its inception in 2004 in the election of its President. The principle of rotation is the heart, the soul, nay, the bedrock of equity, inclusiveness, fairness, justice, and the unity of Africa – values which the PAP and, indeed, any other organ of the AU ought to hold dear,” reads part of the paper.
They said the principle of rotation has been in force since the formation of PAP given Mrs Gertrude Mongella the inaugural president came from Tanzania in the Eastern region and was succeeded by Mr Idriss Ndele Moussa from 2009 to 2012 was from Chad in Central region.
Dr Moussa was succeeded by the late Mr Bethel Amadi from Nigeria (Western Region) who led the PAP from 2012 to 2015 and 2015 marked the end of rotation.