Harare (New Ziana) – Chief Fortune Charumbira’s historic election as president of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) last week was a massive vote of confidence on Zimbabwe and the capacity of its people to steer top continental institutions, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday.
Chief Charumbira, who is a Senator and president of the Chief’s Council in Zimbabwe, made history when he became the first lawmaker from the Southern African region to be voted as PAP president.
He garnered 161 votes out of 203 votes cast in elections held during the fourth ordinary session of the fifth parliament which rans from June 27 to July 2 in Midrand, South Africa.
In a congratulatory message, President Mnangagwa said Chief Charumbira’s victory was more than a personal triumph.
“It is a great gesture of honour and a vote of confidence by Africa firstly to our nation, Zimbabwe, and to our Southern African region as a whole. What adds to my joy was the landslide vote your candidacy commanded, itself a clear indication that your presidency enjoys strong support across Africa’s five Regions,” he said.
“As I pay tribute to our continent, and to our Southern Africa region which acted as one in canvassing continental support for your presidency, I am only fully conscious of your outstanding personal credentials and vast leadership skills which made your candidacy and eventual ascendancy possible and deserved respectively.
“Today our whole Nation shares and rejoices in your historic triumph, confidently knowing you will acquit yourself remarkably well as you discharge your onerous duties in the Office of president of PAP.”
President Mnangagwa said that PAP would benefit from a blend of African tradition and modern statecraft given that Chief Charumbira is a traditional leader.
He said both African tradition and modern statecraft, should have a place in continental Institutions, and should be utilised in equal measure in managing the affairs of institutions such as PAP.
“A lot thus awaits your leadership of PAP, itself a key instrument and veritable institution in shaping the legislative agenda and milieu of our continent on its long journey towards fulfilling its collective blueprint, Vision 2063. Let me assure you, Mister president, that Zimbabwe joins the rest of our region and our continent in pledging her fullest support to you personally, and to your esteemed Office as you discharge your duties and fulfil the Mission of PAP,” he said.
In his acceptance speech after landing the PAP presidency, Chief Charumbira called for unity among Africans.
“I want us to come together; we need to immediately fight and destroy the divisions caused by these foreign languages in Africa imposed on us by outside continents, resulting in us identifying one another as Anglophones, Francophones and Lusophones,” Chief Charumbira said.
“I am a president for everyone despite how you voted, it is high time we put our African people forward and do away with unnecessary conflicts.
“Together we can achieve more, we will only develop our continent when united and this is an essential thing for our people to see and experience in our lifetime.”
The election of Charumbira was a victory of the Southern Africa caucus region which last year disrupted the polls arguing that PAP should adhere to the principles of leadership rotation among regions like what is happening at the African Union.