Picture: Pan African Parliament/Facebook – Chief Fortune Charumbira of Zimbabwe is the newly elected president of the Pan African Parliament.
By Don Makubaza
THE Pan African Parliament (PAP) held its elective session in Midrand South Africa to elect a new bureau to superintend over the affairs of the institution on June 29, 2022.
The elections has been a resounding success for Africa, as it is indeed a showcase of unity across the Continent. At first glance the winner seems to be Chief Fortune Zephaniah Charumbira, who has ascended to the zenith of the organisation after being voted president, but an in-depth analysis reveals that the biggest winner is Africa and its people.
The underpinning principle that has engulfed the Pan African Parliament is ubuntu/hunhu, which has enabled different members of parliament (MPs) to put aside their differences for the sake of the continent.
This time around, there has been a realisation that unity and development are inextricable values. Juxtaposition this year’s plebiscite, an exhibition of unity of purpose and strengthening of democracy as has been espoused by our founding fathers, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Robert Mugabe, and so on. In May last year, Africa did herself a major disservice on a global scale, by creating an embarrassing spectacle of unimaginable proportions that played right into the hands of those who continually sought to perpetuate narratives of a backward society trapped in the Stone Age and this excoriated the whole institution.
The kicking, shoving, screaming and accompanying chaotic scenes that characterised the election then, did not do the continent any favour, yet it must be highlighted that Parliaments by their nature are vociferous mixing pots of a cacophony of contesting ideologies, this is a global phenomenon.
Yet, there is always a silver lining in any cloud – peace, tranquillity and maturity prevailed on the back of hard lessons that had been learnt from the skirmishes and disturbances of last year. It was a sight to behold, there were no losers, there were only winners who accepted their fate with grace and dignity.
Yeremia Chihana from Malawi, who had insisted on his candidature, was disqualified, and rightfully so because the nominations to stand for presidency were never about individuals, but of regional caucuses.
It was indeed marvel when he accepted his fate, returning to the caucus that he had deserted on the eve of the election, and his fellow comrades accepted him with warm embraces. This is what democracy should be all about, it is never about self-aggrandisement, it is about serving the people from whom the mandate of the MPs is derived.
The precociousness with which the other eligible candidate for the presidency stepped down for the Southern Region caucus must be commended.
The African Union had made it clear that within the auspices of the rotation principle, a notion that all African heads of state endorsed, only Southern and Northern caucuses were eligible for the presidential race.
To this extent, to ameliorate acrimony, the Northern caucus coalesced around the Southern caucus and agreed to take the next obvious opportunity that would leave them as solely entitled candidates for the presidency, which is now more than guaranteed.
This is definitely the epitome of a united Africa, one which can set aside all differences, perceived or real, the possibility of a United States of Africa is not a pipe dream, after all. One Africa One Voice, as the PAP adage goes. To this extent, all parties that were involved in the election process must be commended unreservedly.
Beautiful images of voting in an orderly manner were beamed across the globe this time around, validating the point that a united Africa can achieve more.
The voting patterns themselves are quite significant, in fact, there was an understandable apprehension and consternation as to why a vote was necessary when there was only one eligible candidate in the form of Senator Charumbira.
Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, the voting patterns vindicated the underpinning inkling, in which a candidate needed the mandate of 50 percent plus one vote to cross the threshold.
Chief Charumbira garnered 161 votes, 31 abstained and 11 were spoilt. Quintessentially, Africa voted as a single unit of mass that believed firmly not only in the sole candidate but also in itself as the oldest civilisation around.
A feeling of “none but ourselves” permeated the PAP centre in Gallagher, and unity radiated among the MPs in Midrand, Republic of South Africa. The feeling of excitement and expectation across Africa is palpable, Charumbira has got the backing of the whole Continent as largely endorsed by the plebiscite, he is bound to succeed because of the unity of purpose exhibited on a chilly July night.
A night that will forever be etched in the annals of history, as a night where Africa turned a corner in its democratisation processes, there were no losers, mother Africa prevailed as she was wont to.
Don Makubaza is the Public Relations Director for the Parliament of Zimbabwe, he is a holder of a Post Graduate Degree in PR, as well as an MSc in Journalism and Media Studies.
Facebook: @Don Makubaza