By Staff Reporter
ZANU PF aligned Chief Fortune Charumbira has lost his position at the helm of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) where he was elected President in 2022.
PAP’s secretariat announced By-Elections to replace him and his fourth Vice President Francois Ango Ndoutoume of Gabon, without clarifying why the two had been ousted.
Charumbira, a former Chiefs Council President, had however been forced to answer charges of embezzlement and sexual assault in 2023.
After allegedly sexually assaulting one of his married nieces, Charumbira is alleged to have embezzled US$4.5 million in PAP funds including US$45,000 on a trip to Egypt in just a year at its helm.
Documents detailing how Charumbira was abusing his authority to siphon funds, fund trips for his allies and colleagues and other clandestine activities were leaked last year leading to public outcry.
He dismissed all allegations as attempts to unseat him at the head of the continental body.
The nomination for Charumbira and Ndoutoume’s replacements will be on February 21.
“Following the decision of the Bureau of the Pan African Parliament at its Meeting held on the 11th of January 2024 on the By-elections of Bureau Members for vacant positions, and in accordance with the PAP Rules of Procedure, the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan African Parliament, and the Directives of the Bureau on By-elections, I hereby officially declare the position of the President, the 1st Vice President, and 4th Vice President vacant,” reads PAP communication doing rounds online.
“I hereby officially announce (that on) 21 February 2024, a virtual online regional caucus meeting will be held for nomination of candidates.”
Charumbira was voted into office on June 29, 2022, after a year’s delay due to friction among Africa’s regional bodies. Despite receiving a majority of the votes (161 out of 203) his term was riddled by self-inflicted mishaps.
Before this recent loss, Charumbira had survived an earlier palace coup in September last year when one of his deputies Ashebiri Gayo of Ethiopia declared himself Acting PAP President.
Having let go of the Chiefs Council presidency, Charumbira reverts to being an ordinary traditional leader under the guidance of Chief Mtshana Khumalo of Matabeleland North whom he passed the baton to.
Khumalo had been Charumbira’s deputy since 2018.