Mixed reactions to Chief Charumbira’s PAP presidency

Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira

THE election of Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira (pictured) as Pan African Parliament (PAP) president has been received with mixed feelings.

While the ruling Zanu PF party was celebrating the win as a diplomatic triumph, critics expressed doubt over Charumbira’s credentials as a champion of democracy.

Charumbira garnered 161 out of 203 votes to land the post. Some 31 members abstained and 11 ballots were spoilt in the election on Wednesday in Midrand, South Africa.

Yesterday, Zanu PF chief whip in the National Assembly, Pupurai Togarepi said: “Definitely, the election of Chief Charumbira to preside over one of the most influential organs of AU will give Zimbabwe an opportunity to lead Africa as whole. This will give Chief Charumbira a great platform to tell the African and Zimbabwean story to the whole world. We have a well informed ambassador for our country in Chief Charumbira.  Africa and Zimbabwe in particular will benefit from this tour of duty.”

Environment deputy minister Barbra Rwodzi, who was one of the African legislators who caused the PAP election to be aborted last year while protesting over the criteria used to elect the president, tweeted: “This is our continent, all of us as Africans, we have no other home, It is right and just to give each other a chance to lead its Institutions, in different ways that may one day make our dreams come true.”

In a statement, civic society organisation, Heal Zimbabwe Trust said they hoped that Chief Charumbira would respect Zimbabwe’s Constitution and stop dabbling in partisan politics as a traditional leader.

“We hope and remind you to comply with High Court order HC1718/18 back home, which ordered you to retract partisan remarks contravening section 281(2b) of the Constitution,” the statement added.

“Showing respect for our Constitution and the Courts will go a long way in demonstrating your commitment and by extension PAP’s commitment to fostering democracy and the rule of law across the continent.

“We hope you will raise Zimbabwe’s flag high during your PAP Presidency and set a great example for all traditional leaders in Zimbabwe. For the sake of the country we love and building social cohesion and we hope you will comply with the Court order,” Heal Zimbabwe Trust added.

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