South Africa-Africa-Parliament

Chaotic Pan African Parliament suspends session to October

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

A disagreement over voting rules in the election of a new Pan African Parliament (PAP) leadership has forced the suspension of the continental House to October after MPs fought over the electoral system, APA learnt on Wednesday.

PAP, which meets in Johannesburg, suspended its meeting after disruption over the election of the new leadership, which Southern Africa’s PAP MPs claim has been favouring West African MPs, leading them to keep holding the main leadership positions of the House for many years.

To end this “monopoly” in leadership holding roles, the Southern Caucus has called for a rotational leadership based on African Union rules, while the Eastern and Western caucuses want to keep the current direct voting system which favours them in numbers.

The discussions for a new leadership became so heated in the past three days that some members of the PAP resorted to violence on Monday as frustrations grew over whether the presidency should be on a rotational basis or via the current direct ballot box.

Delving into the debate, South Africa’s National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, said that as an organ of the African Union (AU), PAP’s election rules must follow that of the mother body.

Modise said this as she delivered the budget vote of her country’s National Assembly in Cape Town, when she decided to comment on the issue which has made headlines in the country.

According to her, South Africa expected PAP to follow rotational rules for its leadership in keeping with AU’s own rules.

South Africa's opposition Economic Freedom Fighter’s leader and PAP MP, Julius Malema, who was at the session before it was disbanded.

He described the chaotic scenes as “disappointing”.

“Our proposed solution is to let someone from the AU come and intervene -- and facilitate the elections. So if someone from the AU can come and give us direction, we all can comply,” Malema said.

PAP MP Pupurai Togarepi from Zimbabwe said it was high time a Southern African nation took over the reins of PAP’s leadership which has been in the hands of non-Southern Africans since its formation over a decade ago.

This would help unify Africa, Togarepi said, adding: "Unity is simple if we can look at every country, every citizen of Africa, every region to be equal."

Zimbabwe’s Fortune Charumbira, Mali’s Haidara Cisse and Albino Aboug from South Sudan are the three candidates vying for the Presidency of PAP when it resumes meeting in October.

NM/jn/APA

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