Members of the parliament engaged in scuffles over-rotational process of appointing the president
Elections for the appointment of the Pan African Parliament’s (PAP) president were postponed once again on Tuesday after mayhem broke out between lawmakers during the meeting in Midrand. As per reports, lawmakers scuffled over the procedure to choose the presidency, that is whether it should be rotated between the countries in the region.
While parliamentarians from the north and south regions, including the South African delegation, have called for reforms to conduct the elections on a rotational basis, members from the east and west regions denied changing the protocols. Members of the parliament from the north and south regions pointed out that the last two PAP presidents have been from West Africa and not a single president has been elected from South Africa.
Rejecting to vote in the elections, the South African delegation has urged the African Union to intervene in the matter. South African parliamentarians have also underlined that the rotational process will promote fairness and greater transparency in the appointment of the leadership.
On Tuesday, the Pan-African Parliament session was suspended after three days of chaos and failed attempts to elect the new president.
“No election…in this climate, and naturally I suspend this session, to give you time to calm down, and when the time is appropriate, we will come back, and we will proceed to vote, this session is suspended!” Pan-African Parliament clerk Vipya Harawa said, suspending the sitting of the House of Midrand.
Furthermore, African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat has issued a written warning, underlining that the chaos in parliament was impacting negatively on AU. Noting that the discord was sending a negative image of the Parliament and African Union as a whole to the international community, he advised suspending the operation of the institution for at least a month.
On Monday, lawmakers were seen shouting at other officials and fighting over a white ballot box place in front of the room to hold the votes of the election.
Taking to Twitter, the AU Commission Chairperson said that the shocking scenes of violence at the Pan African Parliament “tarnish the image of the institution.”
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.— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) May 31, 2021
“I appeal to all parliamentarians to recover their composure and comply with the rules and procedures of the institution,” he tweeted.
Confirming the suspension of the session, PAP Secretariat spokesperson Jeffrey Onganga noted that it is indefinite. As per reports, the parliament is likely to elect its new leadership in October.
The Pan African Parliament was formed in 2004 as the legislative branch of the African Union. Members of the institution are elected through their legislatures. The parliament is headquartered at Midrand, located between Johannesburg and Pretoria.