The Pan-African Parliament Southern African caucus yesterday officially nominated Chiefs Council president, Fortune Charumbira, as their sole candidate to contest as president of the continental legislative body, paving way for him to stand unopposed if the Northern African caucus does not field a candidate.
The nomination by his region also closed the door on Malawian legislator, Mr Yeremiah Chihana, who failed to secure a nomination from Southern Africa after he had expressed interest in the post.
Chief Charumbira was unanimously nominated last night by the Southern African caucus as the region seeks to assert the principle of rotation of regions, which was upheld by the African Union.
It was not immediately clear last night if the Northern African region, the only other region eligible to contest, had nominated a candidate although sources spoken to said they had not done so.
Nomination of more than one candidate by the Southern Africa would have triggered primary elections as a region is obliged to field a single candidate.
In an interview from Midrand, South Africa last night, Chief Charumbira expressed confidence that he will land the top post of the continental body.
“Tomorrow (today), we have elections for the President of Pan African Parliament and the four vice presidents. In order for one to be elected tomorrow (today) or to be a candidate, you need to be first nominated by your caucus, so the Southern African caucus today (yesterday) have endorsed me to be their candidate for the President of PAP,” said Chief Charumbira.
“I want to express deep gratitude for that confidence by the caucus, but it all arises from the confidence and trust that Zimbabwe through His Excellency President Mnangagwa, who also endorsed my candidature, to come and contest at this high level. We are very confident that tomorrow (today) we will rise to the top six of the PAP.”
African National Congress Chief Whip, Mrs Pemmy Majodina, said they nominated Chief Charumbira last year as a caucus and would not move away from that position until they achieve their objective to have him land the post.
She said they sent several delegations in the region to canvas support and their confidence was boosted when the African Union endorsed the principle of rotation after some other regions had continued to express desire to contest.
“Today (yesterday) all the 10 countries of the Southern region endorsed the name of Chief Charumbira as one and only candidate. Surely we were not going to abandon our mission in the middle because we did not complete what we wanted to achieve in 2021.
“We are firmly behind Chief Charumbira. We do not have any other candidate because each region must submit one name. We are happy that we are showing our unity. There was one (other) person, the name did not even surface here, nobody even nominated him,” said Mrs Majodina, last night.
She said they were prepared to contest with the Northern African region should it decide to field a candidate.
In earlier interview, Mr Chihana said he was keen to contest the election.
In yesterday’s proceedings, the continental legislative body was officially opened by African Union Commission chairperson Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat standing in for AU chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is attending a G7 summit in Germany, together with South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Yesterday’s proceedings saw Zimbabwean legislator, Cde Tatenda Mavetera, being sworn-in to replace Cde Barbra Rwodzi who is now Deputy Minister for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
The PAP is a platform for people from African states to be involved in discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges facing the continent.
Rather than being elected directly by the people, PAP members are designated by the legislatures of their member State and members of their domestic legislatures.
The ultimate aim is for the Parliament to be an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal suffrage.
Until such time, the PAP has consultative, advisory and budgetary oversight powers within the AU.
Some of its objectives are to facilitate and oversee implementation of AU policies, objectives and programmes promoting human rights and consolidating democratic institutions and culture, good governance transparency and the rule of law by all AU organs.