24 April 2018

Southern Africa: SADC Endorses Zim's Pap Bid

Sadc has endorsed president of the Zimbabwe Chiefs Council, Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira's bid to become the president of the Pan African Parliament during elections to be held next month. Chief Charumbira officially launched his bid to become PAP's president yesterday at a ceremony attended by African ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe.

First Lady Mnangagwa, who chairs Southern Africa's PAP Caucus, also attended yesterday's event.

She called on the ambassadors to urge their countries to support Chief Charumbira's bid.

"I want to thank you for coming here and also that you take our message back home for your countries to support us," she said.

"I have come to plead with you to help Zimbabwe to get this position because the PAP's constitution categorically states that the presidency is rotational, but because of the practice that had been going I think people had overlooked that one and we feel there should be a change and Chief Charumbira here has been with PAP for so many years and he knows operationally and also administrative work and what should be done he is so experienced."

Mr McHenry Venani, who is the Sadc campaign team manager for Chief Charumbira's bid, said he had the attributes to successfully lead PAP.

"He is the sole Sadc candidate with strong parliament background both at home and abroad with more than 17 years in Parliament and among the Senate presidency panel," Mr Venani said.

"Africa today is divided along languages with Francophone, Anglophone, Lusophone and Arabic Africa, but here we are presenting a candidate who will bridge those divides and be a unifier."

Some of the issues Chief Charumbira will focus on if he is elected include boosting intra-Africa trade and free movement of goods and people across Africa.

Mr Venani said Chief Charumbira's presidency will also assist Zimbabwe in its re-engagement processes following changes in Government that occurred last year.

"His presidency comes at an opportune time for Zimbabwe as you are busy rebuilding and reconfiguring this great country again, the presidency will also add a number of venues and windows of opportunity for you to accelerate multilateral partnerships across the world," he added.

Chief Charumbira said his experience in various committees of PAP made him capable of taking over the reins of the organisation.

"I will apply that experience in public and private sector to transform PAP," he said.

"At the moment AU and PAP do not enjoy good relations mainly due to leadership and I want to establish good relations with the headquarters in Addis Ababa. After five years we want to transform PAP into a legislative parliament with the objective to make PAP pass model laws."

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawampanga Mwana Nanga also pledged his support for Chief Charumbira.

"What you are bringing to PAP is not just your expertise, but you are bringing ubuntu. You are a chief in your own right and the majority of people on this continent live under the leadership of people like you," he said.

"We are not just supporting your leadership, but the rotational leadership which is enshrined in PAP's constitution."

Mr Roger Nkodo Dang is the current PAP president and has been in office since 2015 and will seek re-election.

Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said President Mnangagwa and Government had thrown their weight behind Chief Charumbira's bid and were engaging parliaments and other governments for their support.

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