Hon. Senator. Chief Fortune Charumbira from Zimbabwe has been overwhelmingly elected as the new leader of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) at the currently underway Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament held in Midrand, South Africa.
“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,” said Hon. Charumbira soon after his election victory, pledging to unite and develop the PAP.
Hon. 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 with 31 members abstaining from voting while 11 spoilt papers were recorded.
“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. Together we can achieve more, we will only develop our continent when united and this is an essential thing for our people to see and experience in our lifetime,” added Hon. Charumbira.
Hon. Chief Charumbirais a traditional leader in Zimbabwe and the current President of the Chief's Council. He was inaugurated as the substantive Chief on 24 May 2000. In 2013, he was retained as President of the Chief’s Council in elections conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in Harare. He served as Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in 2000.
He holds Masters in Business Administration (MBA) as well as Bachelor in Administration Law and Labor Law. He is a specialist in Institutional Change and Performance Improvement.
Also elected to serve in the PAP Bureau, is the 1st Vice President, Hon.Prof. Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf (Mrs.) Laghdaf from Mauritania who got 137 votes with 43 abstaining and 4 spoilt papers recorded. Hon. Dr Ashebiri Gayo from Ethiopia was elected as the 2nd Vice President with 150 votes, 36 people abstained from voting while 11 spoilt papers were recorded. Hon. Lúcia Maria Mendes Gonçalves dos Passos (Mrs) from Cape Verde was voted as the 3rd Vice President after polling 102 votes with 2 spoilt papers. Hon. Francois Ango Ndoutoume from Gabon also made it to the Bureau as the 4th Vice President after garnering 138 votes with 51 abstaining while 8 spoilt papers were recorded.
The elections come following a stalemate that saw the legislative arm of the African Union failing to choose its leaders owing to differences on modalities of handling the election last year.
The deadlock was resolved by an Executive Council decision in October 2021, which 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 much-awaited elections were presided over by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer and Legal Representative of the African Union, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat. H.E Mahamat was representing H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and incumbent Chairperson of the African Union, who was meant to supervise the Session on an exceptional measure guided by Article 14 (1) of the PAP Protocol, which stipulates that the Plenary Session of the Parliament shall be presided by the Chairperson of the Union on 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.