Photo: (left) Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission and (right) Fortune Charumbira, President of the Pan-African Parliament. Source: News Zimbabwe. - Photo: 2022

Mugabe Supporter to Head Pan-African Parliament

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — As members of the Pan-African Parliament hotly disputed the election of senator and chief Fortune Charumbira as their next president, a familiar figure could have turned the exercise upside down.  

The familiar figure was ex-President Robert Mugabe. Charumbira, an unapologetic Mugabe supporter, once faced censure from Zimbabwe’s High Court which ruled that his comments publicly supporting Mugabe’s Zanu PF party were unconstitutional as chiefs are required to be neutral.

The Election Resource Centre also ordered Charumbira to be censured for comments that could “undermine the rule of law.”

“If left to fester, this has the potential to destroy the rule of law and constitutional supremacy in Zimbabwe,” the ERC wrote. “The Minister of Local Government and all electoral stakeholders must resist the temptation to exempt the conduct of Chief Charumbira from necessary scrutiny on his conduct.”

He was subsequently instructed to retract his comment.

When two African leaders dropped their support for Charumbira for candidates from their own region, some speculated that the Mugabe acolyte could have estranged the Europeans, leading them to threaten needed support or continuing sanctions.

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of South Africa, did not mince words, daring funders who could have been aggrieved by Charumbira’s election to “go to hell with their money”.

Last year, violent scenes from the parliament, based in Midrand, were beamed across the world after Malema and then Zimbabwean Pan-African parliamentarian Barbara Rwodzi disrupted the presidential election proceedings, insisting that Charumbira of the Southern caucus must be given a chance.

But this time, before anyone got a black eye, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, appeared and gave the MPs a stern lecture.

Faki defended the selection of Parliament heads based on a system of rotation to avoid another debacle and to salvage the reputation of the Pan-African Parliament and that of the continent, as last year’s aborted elections “… have tarnished the image of this institution and that of the entire continent.

“The unbearable scenes projected on TV and social media, which were seen by Africans, belittled the parliament. It was a disgrace for the continent,” he said.

His lecture succeeded. South Sudan withdrew its candidate and Chief Charumbira was elected unopposed. [IDN-InDepthNews – 05 July 2022]

Photo: (left) Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission and (right) Fortune Charumbira, President of the Pan-African Parliament. Source: News Zimbabwe.

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