Pan African Parliament postponed indefinitely following days of scuffles over leadership vote
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Pretoria – Clerk of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Vipya Harawa has indefinitely postponed proceedings of the Pan African Parliament, sitting in Midrand, following days of scuffles, outbursts and disruptions by parliamentarians.
“Mr Vipya Harawa, clerk of the Pan-African Parliament, has suspended proceedings of the fourth Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament sine die [without assigning a day for a further meeting],” PAP spokesperson Jeffrey Onganga said in a statement issued late Tuesday night.
“The suspension follows disagreements and disruptions that transpired during the procession of the Plenary on May 31 and June 1, 2021 as the PAP was looking to elect the president and vice presidents of its bureau.
“The clerk of parliament regrets the interruptions that have occurred during the ongoing Ordinary Session and the implications for the continuity of parliamentary business,” Onganga said.
He said details on the way forward, including the time frame for reconvening an Ordinary Session, will be communicated in due course.
Earlier on Tuesday, heated exchanges between members of the PAP derailed the scheduled elections, as South African and Zimbabwean parliamentarians vociferously demanded a rotation of the continental legislative body’s leadership.
The scheduled voting was later suspended, for the second time this week, following the melee.
Zimbabwean parliamentarian and member of the election ad-hoc committee Barbara Rwodzi led the charge, supported by South African member of parliamentarian and Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.
“No rotation, no election. We are not going to take any seats. No rotation, no location,” chanted Rwodzi.
Addressing the house, Rwodzi said the elections would not proceed.
“You are very aware that one of the members in your ad-hoc committee is not agreeing with proceeding with these elections because they are illegal and they are not in line with the African Union decision. I do not agree with going ahead with these elections,” Rwodzi said.
On Monday, the voting was disrupted as other members insisted that the parliament should be moved from South Africa. The members complained that they felt unsafe in South Africa.
“We want this parliament to be relocated to another country. We are going to be killed here in South Africa,” some members chanted.
“No relocation, no election,” others chanted.
On Friday, Malema had a heated exchange with another member and mentioned that he would “kill” that fellow parliamentarian.
On Friday, events came to a head after it was announced that the elections would not go ahead as scheduled, as a staffer had tested positive for Covid-19. The elections were then postponed to Monday, igniting heated exchanges between the parliamentarians.
A visibly angry Malema, pointing his finger, could be heard threatening to tackle a fellow member wearing green.
Malema said: “What kind of leadership is this? Nonsense!”
“You are pointing me with a finger now? No, I will definitely kill you outside this building,” Malema shouted.
South African MPs, with Malema leading the charge, were of the view that the elections should be postponed, and the sitting adjourned immediately in line with set Covid-19 protocols.
Parliamentarians opposed to the postponement maintained that the said Covid-19 case was a strategy to postpone the term of office for the controversial incumbent, Cameroonian Roger Nkodo Dang.
African News Agency (ANA)