Pretoria – Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, has dared funders who may be aggrieved by the election of seasoned Zanu PF Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira as president of the Pan-African Parliament to “go to hell with their money”.
Last year, violent scenes from the parliament, based in Midrand, were beamed across the world after Malema and then Zimbabwean Pan-African parliamentarian Barbara Rwodzi disrupted the presidential election proceedings, insisting that based on the principle of rotation, the Southern caucus must be given a chance.
Charumbira was the Southern region’s endorsed candidate, vociferously supported by South African parliamentarians, including Malema, although Malawi’s Malawian parliamentarian Yeremia Chihana broke ranks with the region and threw his hat in the ring.
Journalists asked Malema, after the elections which Charumbira won resoundingly if the presidency of Zimbabwe’s Chiefs Council president would not upset funders like the European Union and ultimately cause them to halt funding the continental body.
Malema responded: “They can withhold it. We are not going to be told by the people giving us money how to think, how to act. If they want to withdraw their money, they can withdraw it. Secondly, this is not Zimbabwe. This is Africa. We are dealing with continental politics, and when dealing with continental politics, you look beyond the country’s politics”.
[In Pictures 📸] CIC @Julius_S_Malema met with new Pan-African Parliament President Chief Fortune Charumbira— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) June 30, 2022
The unity of Africa is central to our development. Africa will be one! pic.twitter.com/hW6tATm4ld
He said, among all the parliamentarians at the Pan-African Parliament, “is the most well-experienced person from our region”.
“He knows the ins and outs, the weakness of the institution. He knows which areas need to be fixed. We cannot, on the basis of party politics, then overlook the necessary capacity which will take this institution forward. For us, it was not an issue of Zanu-PF or MDC – that question is neither here nor there,” said the outspoken South African opposition leader.
Malema said he sympathised with sections of society, saying the election of Charumbira has given a boost to Zanu-PF’s image, “but for EU, I don’t have even a concern about EU. If EU wants to withdraw money because it wants to dictate to Africans what to do, I do not have sympathy. They can take their money”.
“They can actually go to hell with their money,” Malema concluded.
In his maiden speech, Charumbira extended an olive branch to members representing all African nations, pledging to forge unity despite the tough contest and opposition, even within the Southern Africa region.
“I want to promise here and now that I will be a leader of everybody. I will have to learn some French, I will have to learn some Arabic, Portuguese, and fortunately, with regards to Swahili, I already speak Swahili,” said the Zimbabwean senator, who is also a traditional leader.