By Melvin Tejan Mansaray
Speaking during the plenary debate on the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Activity Report presented by Acting PAP President, Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, Honorable Julius Malema, a Member of the South African Parliament’s Delegation to the PAP unrepentantly stressed the notion for equity and fairness as enshrined in the African Union (AU) principle of Rotation for the President and Vice President positions of the Continental Parliament.
Hon. Malema said that the Parliament must agree in the first place that the principle of rotation is not a principle of sharing power adding that certain people think that they must have power over others.
“The principle of rotation is to unite the continent and if we are concerned about the unity of the continent then we would not have a problem about the principle of rotation. We must first understand its purpose. If you have a problem with the type of candidature that Southern Africa is presenting, for instance, you will rather say, we agree with the rotation and therefore we suggest that the North will take. Let the debate be about which regions have not received and which regions will you support. Not that the regions who have not received must wait for some ratification to apply a principle that seeks to unite the Continent,” Hon. Malema said.
He continued that the forefather that came before them wanted to eliminate an unnecessary contestation amongst Africans by coming up with a democratic principle which will cover all the regions.
He said: “If you are concerned about the unity of this Continent and you are not serving the interest of the imperialists and colonialists you will never have a difficulty on the application of a principle that will unite Africans and that is what this vote is about.”
He noted that it is so embarrassing that former leaders of PAP can do everything in their power to divide the institution and undermine the legitimacy of it.
“You can use your majority and keep this power and this presidency in your regions, and if that is the unity of Africa that you are talking about, that power must only circulate in your regions go on with it but be aware that you are serving the interest of imperialism that seeks to keep us divided. The unity of this Continent will not wait for ratification of any form. The unity of this Continent needs us to apply it as in yesterday. We don’t require any ratification of anything for us to be united and anyone who says that we require ratification that person does not know what unity is about. Unity is about us coming together with a paper or no paper,” Hon. Malema said.
It could be recalled that the PAP on 18 May 2017 in Midrand, South Africa adopted the Resolution on the Rotation of the Presidency of the PAP. It noted that that the principle of rotating the office of the President of the PAP is not prescribed in the basic texts of the Parliament but recognized the fact that this principle is expressly mentioned in the amended Protocol of the PAP (article 12.1) adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on 27 June 2014 amongst other things.
Paragraphs five and six of the Resolution stated that: “ Recognizing that African Union respects the practice of rotating the presidency of its Organs;
Accordingly decides that the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament be amended in accordance with the provisions of Rule 93 to include the Principle of Rotation of the Office of the President of the Pan-African Parliament.”
However, there are divergent views on the implementation of this principle for which the Hon. Malema is agitated against its opponents.
However, the election of the PAP President and Vice Presidents is slated for Thursday 27 May 2021 at 2 pm.