Chief Fortune Charumbira elected president of Pan-African Parliament; vows to unite body after bitter campaign

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By Staff Reporter

SOUTH Africa: Zimbabwe’s Chief Fortune Charumbira has been elected new President of the African Parliament.

The African legislative arm of the African Union is holding an ordinary session at its South Africa base this week.

Charumbira, also President of Zimbabwe’s Chief’s Council, had faced stiff challenges from South Sudan MP Albino Aboug and Malawi’s Yeremiah Chihana.

His victory was confirmed by the continental legislative body on Twitter.

The vote came after a botched attempt to elect a new leadership last year when the house descended into chaos for four days.

At the time, delegates could not firmly agree on a leadership system for its bureau.

The bone of contention was whether leaders should be elected or chosen on a rotational basis.

The disagreements neared a point of physical altercation

In his acceptance speech; Chief Charumbira referred to the bitterly fought campaign

“To my brothers and sisters in the Southern Regional Caucus, this victory is for you. For several years, you stood by me and consistently affirmed my nomination as your candidate,” he said.

“You withstood several attacks, sacrificed so much in terms of time, talent and resources to see that equity and fairness are restored at the Pan African Parliament. I won’t harbour any mistaken illusion that the struggle that preceded my election as President was about me.

“However, I cannot lose sight of your decision to entrust me and present me as the anchor of those values, principles and convictions that were manifested in the struggle that preceded my election today. I’m honoured that you chose me and I am more inspired by your support, consistent tenacity for equity and fervent determination to speak with one voice. Thank you!”

He however, reached out to the other regions of the continent.

“To my brothers and sisters at the Northern Regional Caucus, I am deeply indebted to you for yielding your ambition to my candidacy and allowing me to emerge as President,” said the new president.

“By this singular act, you have demonstrated that no individual ambition should ever be placed above the stability of our dear parliament. I thank you for standing with all of us as we fought to ensure that the African Union principle on geographical rotation is implemented.”

He continued; “I will be remiss if I do not thank in a very special way, our colleagues from the Western, Eastern and Central Caucus for your determination to elevate our institution beyond the colonial divisions of language and religion.

“Your vote today has demonstrated that no amount of superficial divisions of language and religion can ever overshadow our collective aspirations for a united parliament. I pledge to work with everyone and together we will achieve the Africa that we all desire.”