SOUTH Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader, Mr Julius Malema, says anyone could have been elected as leader of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) but they found Zimbabwe’s Chief Fortune Charumbira to be the most capacitated leader who will take the institution forward.
Chief Charumbira, who is also the president of the Chiefs Council in Zimbabwe, got 161 votes from the 203 cast during the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the organisation in Midrand, South Africa on Wednesday. A total of 31 abstained and 11 were spoilt votes.
His election saw him become the organisation’s first leader from the Southern African Development Committee (Sadc) region.
As per PAP statutes, Chief Charumbira will be deputised by four vice-presidents who were also elected on Wednesday, where two women were ushered into office.
Mauritania’s Professor Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf will be the first vice-president while Ethiopia’s Dr Gayo Ashebir will be the second.
Ango Ndoutoune of Gabon is the third and Lucia Martia Goncalves dos Passos of Cape Verde was elected as the fourth vice-president.
Chief Charumbira and his executive will be in office for the next four years.
“Each one of us is best suited to take the institution forward but we found him to be one of the most capacitated leaders who will take us forward,” said Mr Malema.
Chief Charumbira holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) as well as Bachelor in Administration Law and Labour Law. He is a specialist in Institutional Change and Performance Improvement. He served as the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works in 2000. Wednesday’s elections followed a stalemate that resulted in 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.
Speaking after taking his oath of office, Chief Charumbira said the continent must immediately fight and destroy the divisions caused by foreign languages imposed by outside continents which resulted in Africans identifying each other as Anglophones, Francophones and Lusophones.
He said regardless of how the voting process went, he will be a president for everyone in his push for a united 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,” he said.
“I am a president for everyone despite 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,” said Chief Charumbira.