Pan African leadership elections in November
The Clerk of the Pan- African Parliament ( PAP), Vipya Harawa has revealed that the elections that were suspended earlier in June will now be held in November this year.
The proceedings of the fourth Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament was suspended in June following disagreements and disruptions during the Plenary on 31st May and 1st June 2021 as the PAP was looking to elect the President and Vice Presidents of its Bureau.
PAP which Botswana is a participant in was expected to vote for new leadership amid high tensions over the elective process. The Clerk of Parliament at the time expressed regrets over the interruptions that have occurred during the Ordinary Session and the implications for the continuity of Parliamentary business.
The Parliament revealed that details on the way forward, including the time frame for the reconvening of an Ordinary Session, will be communicated in due course.
Some members of the PAP resorted to violence as frustrations grew over whether the Presidency should be on a rotational basis or via the current direct ballot box. The southern caucus leads the call for rotation, while the east and west caucuses heavily oppose the idea.
The Southern Caucus is remaining steadfast in its position calling for rotational leadership. The opposing caucuses said the election should go ahead as normal and the new leadership can lead the process to change the rules for the next election in three years’ time. In a communication dated 1st September 2021 Harawa said, “the session will be held physically at the premises of the Pan- African Parliament in Midrand- South Africa from the 13th November to 27th November 2021 taking into account arrival and departure. “Pursuant to Rule 15 ( 2) of the Rules of Procedure of the African Parliament, no fresh call for submission of candidatures for positions of President and Vice President will be made as this is a resumption of the suspended elections.
“Presidential candidates stand as at 1 June 2021, unless a candidate has fallen under a situation of ineligibility or a Caucus elects to reconsider its nominations. “As a new time for conducting the elections of the bureau of the PanAfrican Parliament has been fixed, a regional Caucus which opts to duly reconsider its nominations for election to the office of president or vice president may do so provided that it re- submits the duly nominated candidates to the clerk on the nomination form prescribed on the Rule of Procedure of the Pan- African Parliament before 16th November 2021,” Hawara said in a letter to PAP.
The Pan- African Parliament was set up to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent. The PAP is intended as a platform for people from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. Rather than being elected directly by the people, PAP members are designated by the legislatures of their Member State and members of their domestic legislatures. The ultimate aim is for the Parliament to be an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal suffrage. Until such time, the PAP has consultative, advisory and budgetary oversight powers within the African Union ( AU). Prior to the PAP session in May this year, the AU legal department wrote the Clerk indicating that the current Protocol of PAP adopted in 2001 has incorporated the principle of rotation although wrongfully applied over the years in electing Bureau members. It explained in the letter dated 30th May 2021 that the principle of geographical rotation is a well- established principle within the Union. “The principle has been consistently applied with legal obligatory effect within the entire Union. It’s indeed considered as customary international law as clearly manifested and consistently reflected within the legal instruments of the AU policy and technical organs in elections of political offices. This can be seen from application in the election of Bureau of the Union and all other deliberative bodies of the Union,” the letter reads.