The SADC members have vehemently refused to allow a leader from Francophone nations to take over the Pan African Parliament (PAP) presidency.
They firmly advocated for the principle of rotation to allow those regions that have never led it to do so.
PAP descended into chaos this week with now surfacing allegations of the outgoing PAP president Roger Dang from Cameroon rallying for a West African candidate to be nominated.
After several days of chaos, including physical confrontations, outbursts and disruptions, the clerk of PAP, Vipya Harawa on Tuesday evening indefinitely postponed proceedings.
Central to the remonstrations were Namibia’s McHenry Venaani, South Africa’s Julius Malema and Zimbabwe’s Barbara Rwodzi.
Venaani tweeted late Tuesday evening; “Today we stood firm against language and forms of domination in Africa. Our demand is the principle of rotation at PAP. We collapsed the elections in the name of a freer and fairer Africa.” Venaani, who is the chairperson of the Trade, Custom and Immigration Committee of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), said the commotion in the assembly was perpetuated by the principle of rotation to now have a representative from the southern or northern region to head it.
“Since the inception of the PAP presidency, the eastern caucus had a chance to lead the presidency, the western also had a chance while the central African region had three presidential seats and the only regions that never had the chance is the northern and southern African regions,” he informed New Era.
The founding instruments of the African Union as well as the Malabo Protocol stated that Africa is divided into five regions, mainly the northern, eastern, western, central and southern regions.
The southern African caucus wrote to the African Union (AU), the mother body of PAP, and the AU responded by decrying the status quo and directing rotational leadership. The AU also said only candidates from those regions that have never had the chance to lead the presidency should stand.
“We are saying if the law of the jungle becomes the law, the only duty that exists is to resist and we are resisting to be trampled upon and never to be given the right to rotation,” added Venaani, the president of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).
He said: “It’s a shame for a continent that is inundated with various social-economic issues, that people are only concentrating all their energies on who leads. The lady who is running is from Mali. Her country is suspended from ECOWAS, there are two military coups in that country, a coup within a coup.”
South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema said the francophone countries still admire their colonisers and worship symbols of France.
“They see themselves as French. They have to do away with that. We can’t do that by being pretentious. They see us as enemies and we don’t see them like that. That’s why throughout we have been electing them, we never had a problem with them occupying leadership positions,” said Malema during an interview with the SABC.
In a press statement released this week, the EFF welcomed the adjournment of the parliament and reiterated their stance on having a rotational principle after continuous disruptions by the “power mongers”.
He stated that a rotational principle helps to unite the continent in the sense that every region feels that it is part of the parliament. He suggested for Chief Fortune Charumbira from Zimbabwe to be the new president of PAP.
Malema said the parliament should be adjourned until the clerk receives communication from the African Union.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat tweeted his disappointment in the way parliamentarians behaved, adding that such brings the name of the institution into disrepute.
“The shocking scenes of violence at the #PanAfricanParliament today tarnish the image of this honourable institution. I appeal to all parliamentarians to recover their composure and comply with the rules and procedures of the institution,” he said.