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Zimbabwean Barbara Rwodzi, Colleagues Block Pan-African Parliament Elections Over Rotational Presidency


Member of Parliament for Chirumanzu, Barbara Rwodzi. (Photo Credit/Barbara Rwodzi Facebook page)

Zimbabweans were among the Pan-African parliamentary group that blocked the organization’s elections in South Africa following a fall out between southern African representatives and their colleagues, drawn from east and west African states.

There was chaos and pandemonium at the event, which unceremoniously ended Monday, when the southerners demanded that the presidency be rotated.

Representatives of the mainly French-speaking nations turned down their demands, saying the Pan-African parliamentary elections should be held without delay.

Zimbabwean parliamentarian, Barbara Rwodzi, took center stage by grabbing the ballot box, resulting in a harsh exchange of words, kicking and shoving at the meeting.

Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Gutu, Pupurai Togarepi, says they were demanding the rotation of the presidency, a move that is being supported by the African Union.

The southern African block is currently led by Zimbabwe’s Fortune Charumbira.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has been led by a president drawn from west Africa since its formation in 2004.

Togarepi said, “We had challenges. Elections were supposed to happen on Tuesday afternoon but we had challenges among some members of the Pan-African parliament who refused to abide to the AU directive. The directive said we should respect the protocol, the policy of rotation. They said they want the Pan-African parliament to be an independent institution, independent from the mother body.

“Some of us from southern Africa, as you know, we have never had a chance to lead the Pan-African parliament. We said ‘no’ we need to abide by the directive given by the AU. So, some among the majority French-speaking Africans refused. We stood our ground until elections were suspended and we stated that the AU be invited so that we abide by the policies provided by the AU.”

Togarepi said they expected the elections to be conducted sometime this year in South Africa when parliamentarians meet for committee deliberations.

He said the majority of African nations are following African Union protocols in running the Pan-African parliament.

Togarepi said Charumbira, who is also the acting president of the Pan-African parliament, is expected to be at the helm of the organization until elections are held in August this year.

In an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Wednesday, Rwodzi, said she blocked the PAP elections, through chanting "no rotation, no elections”, in order to have an organization that follows democratic values of governance.

She appeared on television with a bandaged left hand but noted that she won’t sue the people that inflicted the injury.

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