CHIEFS’ council president, Fortune Charumbira, has been elected the vice president of the Pan African Parliament (PAP)representing the Southern Africa Caucus.
The elections were held on Wednesday during the First Ordinary Session of the 5th Pan African Parliament which is underway in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Pan African Parliament is an organ of the African Union whose objectives are to facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union, promote the principles of human rights and democracy and to promote peace, security and stability in Africa.
Chief Charumbira was elected as the fourth vice president of PAP with 114 votes out of 157 ballots cast, against Honourable Alice Ngoma of Malawi who withdrew her candidature at the last minute.
Chief Charumbira joins a top team made up of Hon Roger Nkodo Dang of Cameroon (Central Africa), Hon Stephen Julius Masele of Tanzania (East Africa), Hon Haïdara Aichata Cissé of Mali (West Africa) and Hon Bouras Djamal of Algeria (North Africa) who are first, second and third vice-presidents respectively.
The fourth vice-presidency spot had remained vacant since May 2018 after the Southern African Region failed to nominate a candidate to this position during the election of the 5th Bureau of the continental Parliament.
In line with rules of procedure, fresh elections were scheduled to be called in order to fill the vacancy.
In his acceptance speech, Chief Charumbira pledged to be a team player in his bid to help the Bureau to formulate policies that will advance the mandate of the PAP.
“My focus will be on working hand in hand with the other Bureau members to come up with ways to make a difference in the lives of our people as per the mission of this institution. I am grateful to the members of the PAP for the confidence shown in me through what has been a free, fair and transparent process. I hope to count on everyone as we aim to surmount the difficult task of making the PAP relevant to the people,” Chief Charumbira said.
“It is a fact that Africa has been lagging behind in some areas of human development, mostly looking at infrastructure and a lot of people are living in poverty. It is the duty of PAP to engage people on those issues so that governments can come up with the right policies in all sections so that we go back to the Africa that we knew with our forefathers who were vibrant and had a vision.”
He said he would ensure that Africa’s resources are distributed fairly, transparently and with accountability.
Africa’s resources should be exploited to the advantage of the people of Africa, said Chief Charumbira.
He said removal of all barriers and elimination of corruption and promotion of good governance and adherence to the rules of the Pan African Parliament and encouraging unity of the continent is important.
“We are all aware that a lot is taken out of Africa and that some people come and work with our politicians and enrich people outside our continent. This is poor governance and we should take it upon ourselves to eradicate such cancerous behaviour,” Chief Charumbira said.
He said the founding members of the African Union in 1963 had seen an Africa which thrived on good governance, high productivity and food sufficiency.
“We have lot of conflicts in Africa. Though they have reduced now, a lot of money is spent in trying to address issues of conflict and this is prohibiting development. I’m here to make sure we have a PAP that is united and focused on the challenges of the continent,” Chief Charumbira said.
He said he would also prioritise gender equality, highlighting that excluding women and youth in the continent’s development plans would be excluding about 80 percent of the African population.
The Zimbabwean delegation at the summit includes Chief Charumbira, Cdes; Pupurai Togarepi, Stars Mathe, Barbara Rwodzi and Tapiwa Mashakada.