BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
PRESIDENT of the Council of Chief’s Senator Fortune Charumbira is one of the top contenders for the position of Pan African Parliament president after he was announced the sole candidate to represent southern Africa.
He will face a stiff challenge from Haidara Aichata Cisse from Mali and Albino Mathom Ayuel Aboug of South Sudan.
PAP Clerk Vipya Harawa said three candidates from southern Africa, West Africa and East Africa will contest the pan African Parliament presidency.
Statement on the suspension of the Ordinary Session pic.twitter.com/QazuTOviHm
— PanAfricanParliament (@AfrikParliament) June 1, 2021
“We received three nominations competing for the presidential role. The three candidates are Hon. Haidara Aichata Cisse (Mrs) from Mali, Hon. Albino Mathom Ayuel Aboug from South Sudan and Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira from Zimbabwe,” Harawa said.
The election process has been characterised by chaotic scenes, including threats and near fist fights over the procedures to be followed.
Yesterday, the election process was disrupted after the PAP MPs failed to agree on the presidential vote principle and procedures to follow in electing a candidate.
This was after one of the PAP members; McHenry Venaani suggested that all organs of the African Union must apply the notion of rotational leadership.
The Pan-African Parliament is set to elect a new leadership on 31 May 2021. Here’s a look back at the previous bureaux pic.twitter.com/AvDEpxqSRJ
— PanAfricanParliament (@AfrikParliament) May 29, 2021
Venaani said southern Africa and Northern Africa must be given a chance to lead PAP as they had never done so.
“For too long since the inception of this body, all the organs of the AU apply the principle of rotation. We have given the central region three times presidency, Western Africa had a chance, Eastern Africa had a chance. When we are rightly demanding the right of rotation to give Southern and Northern Africa a chance, we are being denied. We are demanding fairness and equity. We also want to have a chance at the helm of this institution,” he said.
Former PAP president Roger Nkodo Dang (Cameroon) accused PAP members of selectively applying laws and protocol saying, rotation was only possible after ratification of the Malabo Protocol.
The ‘Malabo Protocol’ is an amendment to the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted by the African Union at its 2014 Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Once it receives the required number of ratifications, it will create a new Section in the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights with jurisdiction over international and transnational crimes, hence an ‘African Criminal Court’.
During the melee, firebrand South African legislator Julius Malema suggested that an AU representative should come and facilitate the elections since other members were refusing to accept letters from the AU.
MPs shouted and exchanged harsh words and Zanu PF Chirumanzu South MP Barbara Rwodzi could be heard shouting “No rotation….No elections”.
The continental body, however made a ruling that only those regions who have never occupied the PAP presidency since inception were eligible to present candidates for the top post.
“According to the AU, the principle of geographical rotation is a well-established principle within the Union. Legally speaking, the principle of geographical rotation obligates the Union to ensure the recruitment and appointment/election process of political offices of AU organs carried out systematically to allow each region to assume the role on rotation basis as an established customary international law of the Union,” the AU said in a statement.
AU said any PAP elections that do not respect the geographical rotations will be deemed illegal.
“…..Therefore only regions who never occupied the presidency of PAP shall be eligible to present candidates for this post. In implication of the above, AU legal opinion is that the candidate of the Southern Caucus, Hon. (Honourable) Chief Fortune Charumbira is the sole candidate for the May 31, 2021 election for the PAP presidency since the Northern Caucus has not nominated any candidate for the position. Fortunately for the candidates from the Western and Eastern Regions, they were also nominated for the position of VP,” the AU said.