Pan-African Parliament Gets New President, Vice Presidents

ADDIS ABABA – Zimbabwe Senator Fortune Charumbira has been overwhelmingly elected as the new President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). 

The Parliament also elected Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf from Mauritania as the first Vice President and Ashebir Woldegiorgisalso from Ethiopia as the second Vice President.

Also elected to serve in the PAP Bureau, Lúcia Maria dos Passos from Cape Verde was also voted as the 3rd Vice President while Francois Ango Ndoutoume from Gabon was elected as the 4th Vice President.

The election for PAP leadership took place at the just concluded Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament held in Midrand, South Africa.

Senator Charumbira who was nominated to contest for Presidency of the PAP Bureau by his Southern Africa Caucus received 161 votes out of 203 votes cast. He takes over the presidency from Roger Nkodo Dang of Cameroon.

In his acceptance speech, the new PAP president said he was committed to ensure the full participation of African citizens in the economic development and integration of the continent. 

Since its establishment in 2004, the Parliament has continuously supported the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union in member states through its linkage with national legislatures. 

“I am a President for everyone regardless of how you voted, it is high time we put our African people forward and do away with unnecessary conflicts,” he told the pan African parliament. 

“I want us to come together; we need to immediately fight and destroy the divisions caused by these foreign languages in Africa imposed on us by outside continents and resulted in us identifying one another as Anglophones, Francophones, and Lusophones,” he stated. 

The 2022 elections come following a stalemate in the legislative arm of the African Union on modalities of handling the election that were initially scheduled for 2021. 

To resolve the stalemate, AU Executive Council in October 2021, reiterated the adoption of the principle of rotation when electing the leadership of the institution.  The decision also charged the Office of the Legal Counsel of the Union to prepare modalities and conduct the elections of the new Bureau of the Pan-African Parliament.

The 2022 elections were presided over by the Chairperson of the AU Commission Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer, and the Legal Representative of the AU, Moussa Faki Mahamat. 

Mahamat also represented Macky Sall, President of Senegal and incumbent Chairperson of the AU, who was meant to supervise the Session on an exceptional measure guided by the PAP Protocol, according to the Union.

Article 14 (1) of the protocol stipulates that the Plenary Session of the Parliament shall be presided by the Chairperson of the Union in the absence of the Bureau of PAP, until the election of the President of the Parliament who shall thereafter preside over entire processes of the institution..