Pan-African Parliament Fails to Elect President Amid Regional Clashes

By Oliver Ngwenya    01-Jun-2021 19:07 UTC+02:00

Pan-African Parliament degenerated into chaos on Tuesday ahead of the presidential vote. Photo”EWN

Immediately after it went into session, the Pan African Parliament again erupted into the chaos that it has come to be known for. The session on Tuesday, which was meant to elect its president, could not go ahead as there was complete mayhem following a disagreement on the system to be used to elect the parliament’s president. The PAP, as it has come to be known, was brought into being in 2000 in Togo and its main objective is to ensure that any policies of the African Union are debated adequately and implemented properly. Says one of its objectives, “Facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union.”

However, on Tuesday, and for the second day running, the robust debate that was anticipated could not go ahead as there was pandemonium in the parliament following a letter that was read, which was from the mother body, the African Union, which spoke to reforming the voting procedure. The southern delegation, of which South Africa is part, refused to be part of the election if the presidency of the parliament is not rotational. On the other hand, the eastern and western crew demanded that the election go ahead as it has always been, that is, based on the votes that are amassed. The appeal by the ad-hoc committee chairperson, Jaynet Kabila, for members to conduct themselves as they should seemed to fall on deaf ears as chaos and pandemonium was the order of the day. The ad-hoc committee is charged with managing and conducting the election. Another member of the committee, Barbra Rwodzi from Zimbabwe said, “I do not agree with going ahead with these elections unless we follow what has been written to the clerk of parliament.” When Namibian representative McHenry Venaani tried to read the letter from the AU, he was shouted down and South Africa’s Julius Malema, who tried to stand on a point of order, also could not as the floor was not opened, which drove the house into further chaos.

Just before the vote, the southern delegation released a statement in which it accused the eastern and western crews of undermining the parliament’s unity and it added that it would not take part in the election unless it is held in the way that is recommended by the AU, that is, on a rotational presidency. “The two caucuses have been using their majority in the continental parliament to ensure that only their candidates occupy the presidency and when it comes to account, they use the same majority to shield them from accounting for how they have spent the funds of the PAP,” said Amos Masondo of the South African delegation. The southern delegation is putting forward the name of the current president, Chief Fortune Charumbira for the position of the president while the western delegation, which is accusing the South African delegation of using the home ground to try and bully other delegations, is putting forward the name of Haidara Aichata Cisse as their preferred candidate.

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