Pretoria - President of the Pan-African Parliament, Chief Fortune Charumbira said for the first time in the history of the continental assembly, leadership of the eleven committees have now been equitably shared among all regions, following his unprecedented election as a candidate from the southern region.
“The conflict did not start in 2021, and the divisions have been getting sharper and sharper with members of parliament and even staff here. The issue Francophones and Anglophones exists. We want to destroy that culture. It is there among MPs and we want to destroy it,” Charumbira spoke to Independent Media at the Pan-African Parliament premises in Midrand, Ekurhuleni.
“I think the continent should celebrate what we did on Friday. It is one of the critical steps towards uniting this Parliament. These things (divisions) come out every time we hold elections either for the top bureau, caucuses or the committees. For this first time, we said no region shall take all the chairship of the regions.”
Previously, Charumbira said a region could even take five chairships of the committees.
“Now we have said two (chairs) per region, and we have five regions. Each region also gets two vices and rapporteur. The three positions in the eleventh committee, by the big regions. East and West (regions) got extra for their numbers,” he said.
“We were expecting a lot of resistance in committees but as we sit here, we are very happy. Every region has taken at least two chairpersons. They are chairing two committees. Every region also has positions of vice chair, with two for rapporteur. Previously, one region may have none in terms of chairs, and one position of vice only but not this time. Already, we are uniting the regions.”
Fireworks were expected last week when the 275 Pan-African Parliament’s members regrouped to elect new leaders and map out the way forward for a continent battling rampant unemployment, rising food and fuel prices, as well as a chronic electricity shortage.
Despite some low-key regional squabbling, the Zimbabwean senator and traditional leader Charumbira emerged victorious, tasked with the huge responsibility to map the way forward for the consultative continental body.
This ordinary session of the fifth Parliament of the PAP was officially opened by African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat standing in for AU chairperson and Senegalese president Macky Sall.
In his opening address, Mahamat called for “unity and to put Africans first” at the opening ceremony of the PAP Session.
During the proceedings last week, Zimbabwean legislator, Tatenda Mavetera, was sworn in as a member to replace Barbara Rwodzi, who was appointed Deputy Minister for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.