Give rotation a chance, AU chief pleads with Pan-African Parliament ahead of elections
AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat has pleaded with Pan-African Parliament (PAP) delegates to give the southern and north African regions a chance to lead the institution.
Mahamat, who is expected to facilitate the PAP elections, confirmed the principle of rotation has not yet been ratified and cannot be enforceable at this week’s gathering.
“I want to be clear and sincere with you all. It is regrettable the protocol establishing rotation has not entered into force because of a lack of the required number of ratifications. From the legal point of view, it is obviously not effective,” Mahamat said in his opening address at the PAP session which started in Midrand, Gauteng on Tuesday.
The principle of rotation provides for the PAP presidency to rotate among the five regions of the AU, namely north, west, east, central and southern Africa. It is followed by the AU in all its organs as a means to unite the continent.
Of the five regions, the southern and north regions are the only two that have not held the presidency since its inception in 2004.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) caucus relied on the implementation of the principle while it campaigned for Zimbabwean MP Chief Fortune Charumbira for the PAP presidency.
In his address, Mahamat said a decision adopted by the AU’s executive council and approved by the assembly of the union prescribed that elections for the PAP bureau be held according to the principle of rotation to enable the two regions which have not yet occupied the presidency post.
“The rotation doesn’t mean you want to put aside the legal instruments that are enforced, but we have to be objective to solve the problem which has become unbearable,” he said.
It would be “a great honour” to implement the principle this week, he said.
The unfortunate events that took place in the same cycle in May and June 2021 on the occasion of the aborted election of the bureau for the institution have tarnished the image of this institution and that of the entire continent.Moussa Faki Mahamat, AU Commission chair
He urged the other regions to allow a sense of reason and fair play to prevail, saying the AU could not afford a crisis in one of its key institutions, the PAP.
Mahamat also reflected on the aborted PAP session of May 2021 when MPs from the SADC disrupted proceedings, demanding the implementation of the rotation principle when electing new leaders.
He called for a “brotherly dialogue”, saying a peaceful atmosphere should prevail this time. This would be essential to unite the continent, so it could in solidarity tackle challenges which range from health to Covid-19 and its economic and social consequences, security challenges, including the spread of terrorism, and climate change disasters affecting the continent.
While parliaments across the world are a forum for discussions and heated discussions were expected, he called on PAP MPs to be moderate in their approach and to exercise self-control.
“The unfortunate events that took place in the same cycle in May and June 2021 on the occasion of the aborted election of the bureau for the institution 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.”
Elections for new leadership are scheduled for Wednesday.
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