SADC candidate triumphs at PAP

Martin Endjala

The Pan African Parliament presidency election that was delayed last year because of uncompromising stand-off and embarrassing pandemonium between delegates, took a much reconciliatory tone this time around and the election finally took place with the Southern Caucus candidate winning.

Zimbabwe’s Chief Fortune Charumbira was elected as the new President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on Wednesday evening, 29 June 2022. The breakthrough of Charumbira’s election was widely celebrated in Southern Africa as he becomes the very first person from the sub-region to lead PAP.

Although he was the sole presidential candidate, running for PAP presidency, he needed the support of at least 50 percent plus one (50% + 1) of votes. According to a National Council Secretariat member at the event, Charumbira won a total of 161 votes out of 231 cast. Thirty-one members abstained while 11 ballots were spoilt.

National Council chairperson, Lukas Sinimbo Muha congratulated the newly elected PAP President and commended the PAP membership for adhering to the principle of rotation, citing that it was an
imperative mechanism for democracy to thrive and for good governance for the continental parliamentary body.

Sinimbo pointed out that, while the AU had agreed on the rotation principle, he confirmed that it is yet to be ratified by PAP, stating that it is still not enforceable.

AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who facilitated the PAP elections, pleaded with PAP delegates to give the two regions a chance to lead the institution, in what he termed to be “in the spirit of fair play’’.

Charumbira told the chamber that his focus would be on cleaning up the public image and uniting the African diaspora, including strengthening the fight against corruption.

Prior to his election, Charumbira served as one of PAP’s four vice-presidents since 2018. He is also a
traditional leader and a Zimbabwean Member of Parliament. Chief Charumbira was the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) candidate.

Charumbira’s election was largely due to the implementation of the rotation principle, which provides for the PAP presidency to rotate among the five regions of the AU, namely north, west, east, central and Southern Africa.

The principle is followed by all AU organs as a means to unite the continent. Due to previous dominance of the east, west and central regions in the PAP, the southern and northern African regions were the only ones eligible to nominate candidates for the presidency this time around as they are the only regions that had not held the presidency since PAP’s inception in 2004.

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