Chief Charumbira reelected as Pan African Parliament President

Zimbabwean politician Fortune Charumbira has been successfuly re-elected as the president of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

The Pan-African Parliament held elections in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday.

A South African High Court on Thursday dismissed a court application by a Botswana legislator who had sought to stop the Pan-African Parliament extraordinary session which was expected to hold elections

Charumbira was the preferred candidate, while Miles Sampa also vied for the top seat.

The PAP website states that the vacancies arose due to “elections and unconstitutional changes of government in some of the African Union member states”.

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The outcome of the elections would also fill the positions of first and fourth vice president of the PAP bureau.

In Zimbabwe, Chief Charumbira was the President of PAP after he won the polls but his membership of PAP together with others were terminated by operation of the law after he temporarily ceased to be a legislator when Parliament was dissolved to pave the way for the August 2023 harmonised elections.

The convening of an extraordinary session of PAP resulted from the executive council decision of the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa in February where several Heads of States and Government including President Mnangagwa attended.

Aggrieved by the decision to hold the session which would culminate in elections of some Bureau Members, Botswana MP Mr Christian Greeff approached the South African High Court seeking to interdict the session which is starting today in Midrand, South Africa.

He cited the Clerk of the PAP, Ms Lindiwe Khumalo and the chairperson of the Southern Region Caucus, Pemmy Majodina.

Mr Greeff also sought an order of the court to direct the Southern Region Caucus of the PAP to hold a meeting to nominate a presidential candidate before new members of Parliament were sworn in.

In dismissing the court challenge, the High Court in South Africa upheld contentions by the respondents that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

It was ruled that in terms of the PAP Protocol ratified by South Africa and South Africa’s Home Country Agreement with the African Union (AU) through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), it was explicitly clear that Pan-African Parliamentarians enjoy parliamentary immunity in South Africa and that a member of the Pan-African Parliament shall not be liable to civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment or damages for what is said or done by him or her within or outside the Pan-African Parliament in his or her capacity as a member of Parliament in the discharge of his or her duties.

Dismissal of the case now clears the way for the opening ceremonies expected to take place today.

The election is also expected to put to rest the unrest and chaotic scenes that had been created by a member of the Bureau who had sought to catapult himself at the helm of the organisation without following laid down procedures.

Charumbira has been accused of sexual assault and embezzling US$4,5 million of the PAP, including US$45 000 for a trip to Egypt in 2023.

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