Africa-Press – South-Africa. PRETORIA – The ANC said it has noted “with dismay and deep concern” the latest developments at the fourth ordinary session of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) which led to the session being adjourned for later in the year.
The disagreements and disruptions that occurred inside the House of Parliament, in Midrand, on different days as the PAP was preparing to elect the president and vice-presidents of its bureau led to the inevitable suspension of proceedings, the ruling party noted.
“As a host country for the inaugural launch of the AU in Durban 2002, as well as having successfully tabled a bid to host the PAP on our shores in 2004, the ANC attaches great importance to the pursuit of African unity and continental integration. It is therefore deeply concerning that at this session in Midrand that the principle of rotational leadership and equitable geographical spread was undermined,” said ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe.
The ANC has now called for the maintenance of this principle as well as its sanctity to be promoted and protected.
“The ANC reiterates its support to the long-standing tradition of the AU, which has been adopted from its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity on rotational leadership. Rotational leadership constituted the core debate that led to the disruption of proceedings in the PAP,” Mabe said.
“Our continent is diverse and rich with capable and talented leaders from north to south, east to west and all its beautiful islands. We do not have the scarcity of leadership in the continent and therefore it should not be a problem if we agree on the regional rotation of leaders. This guarantees good neighbourliness and entrenches the spirit of ubuntu.”
Mabe emphasised that it was wrong for the PAP’s power to remain under the reins of certain regions of Africa.
“It cannot be right that since the inception of the PAP in 2004, power at its highest echelons has been centralised and circulated amongst the western, eastern and central regions repeatedly, to the exclusion of both the northern and southern regions,” he said.
This state of affairs undermines African unity and meaningful integration of the continent’s parliament “that ought to be the voice of the ordinary African masses”, said Mabe.
He said at the next sitting of the PAP, this matter must be addressed.
“Our country, South Africa, supported the principle of gender equality as enshrined in the protocols of both the AU as well as in the Pan-African Parliament. We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms acts of gender-based violence perpetrated against both men and women,” Mabe said.
“Similarly, we commend the courage and bravery displayed by our chief whip in the National Assembly as well as South Africa’s representative to the Pan-African Parliament, comrade Pemmy Majodina, who stood firm on principle in the face of masculinity and physical abuse at the risk of her own safety in defence of the long-held principle of rotational leadership.”
Earlier this week, clerk of the PAP Vipya Harawa postponed proceedings of the continental house following days of scuffles, outbursts and disruptions by parliamentarians.
On Tuesday, heated exchanges between members of the PAP derailed the scheduled elections as South African and Zimbabwean parliamentarians vociferously demanded a rotation of the continental legislative body’s leadership.
The scheduled voting was later suspended, for the second time this week, following the mêlée.
Zimbabwean parliamentarian and member of the election adhoc committee Barbara Rwodzi led the charge, supported by South African member of parliament and EFF leader Julius Malema.
“No rotation, no election. We are not going to take any seats. No rotation, no location,” Rwodzi said.
African News Agency (ANA)