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Chief Charumbira back at helm of PAP

Chief Fortune Charumbira yesterday retained his post as Pan-African Parliament president during an extraordinary session of the body held in Midrand, South Africa.

He beat the challenge from Zambian legislator, Miles Sampa, with 23 votes to 22.

PAP was also expected to hold elections to fill the posts of president, first vice president and fourth vice president of its bureau.

The polls were held after terms of the incumbents lapsed owing to elections in their countries and change of governments in some of the countries.

Chief Charumbira was the PAP president after he won the polls last year, but his membership of PAP together with others, were terminated by operation of the law after he temporarily ceased to be a legislator when Parliament was dissolved to pave way for the August 2023 harmonised elections.

Chief Charumbira retained his Senatorial seat after he was elected deputy president of the Zimbabwe’s Chief’s Council.

The convening of the extraordinary session of PAP was an outcome of the executive council decision of the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February where several Heads of States and Government including President Mnangagwa attended.

Aggrieved by the decision to hold the session, which would culminate in elections of some Bureau Members, Botswana MP Christian Greeff approached the South African High Court seeking to interdict the session but his challenge was dismissed.

It was ruled that in terms of the PAP Protocol ratified by South Africa and South Africa’s Home Country Agreement with the African Union (AU) through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), it was explicitly clear that Pan-African Parliamentarians enjoy parliamentary immunity in South Africa and that a member of the Pan-African Parliament shall not be liable to civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment or damages for what is said or done by him or her within or outside the Pan-African Parliament in his or her capacity as a member of Parliament in the discharge of his or her duties.

A spokesperson for the Chief, Modester Kamupinda confirmed Chief Charumbira’s return and his resumption of office as PAP president.

“Zimbabwe’s Senator, Chief Fortune Zephaniah Charumbira has been sworn into the Pan-African Parliament as a returning member following the Zimbabwe General Election in August 2023.

“This happened according to the Rules of Procedure governing the Continental Parliament, where new and returning members designated to PAP by their national parliaments are sworn in at the first plenary meeting. Next he will be elected to return to serve the rest of his three-year term as the President of the African Union’s legislative body,” she said. Herald

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