Zimbabwean Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira is the new President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). PAP also known as the African Parliament, is the legislative body of the African Union (AU).

Charumbira was overwhelmingly elected at the just concluded Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament held in Midrand, South Africa.

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.

He takes over from Roger Nkodo Dang from Cameroon.

In his acceptance speech, Charumbira 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. 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. 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,” Charumbira stated.

Also elected to serve in the PAP Bureau, is the 1st Vice President, Prof. Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf from Mauritania; Dr Ashebiri Gayo from Ethiopia was elected as the 2nd Vice President; Lúcia Maria Mendes Gonçalves dos Passos from Cape Verde was voted as the 3rd Vice President; and Francois Ango Ndoutoume from Gabon elected as the 4th Vice President.

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.

Moreover, to resolve the stalemate, African Union 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 African Union Commission Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer and Legal Representative of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Mahamat was representing 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 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.

The work of the Pan-African Parliament is key in accelerating the adoption and implementation of policies and decisions and Declarations of the African Union for the realization of the Aspirations of Agenda2063 and flagship projects.

Furthermore, it also plays a pivotal role in strengthening the oversight capacity of National Parliaments to hold the executive branches of government accountable with respect to the implementation of the continental agenda.

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