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The week Swapo and Opposition united for once in parly

By: Hertha Ekandjo

The recently convened Pan African Parliament has turned out to be the only occasion which for once in a very long time has seen the ruling Swapo party burying differences with the opposition to unite behind a common vision inside a parliament.

The five-member delegation to the PAP mixed together Swapo’s Loide Kasingo with LPM’s fiery leader Bernardus Swartbooi, alongside Swapo chief whip Hambyuka Hamunyera and PDM’s McHenry Venaani et al.

Together they represented the Namibian delegation which formed the Southern African caucus, and despite ideological differences and years of monstrosity, they rallied behind Zanu PF’s chief Fortune Charumbira’s race for the presidency of the PAP.

And while Swapo is a sister party to Zanu PF with ties that were fashioned in the crucible of war, the opposition PDM and LPM do not see eye to eye with Zimbabwe’s ruling party.

The PAP’s session thus, has turned out to be a rare occasion during which these parties have for once agreed on one thing and thus successfully delivering for the SADC region its first ever leader of the PAP.

In the meantime, Kasingo, said Africa`s biggest challenge is poverty, and now the Russian – Ukrainian war has affected food production, while presenting the outcomes of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) election.

According to the deputy speaker, the PAP Committee on ‘rules and privileges’ led by Namibia’s Landless People`s Movement (LPM) leader Bernardus Swartbooi is very important as it may come up with a modern law to ensure that Africa is food sufficient.

Moreover, Kasingo said that PAP president, Charumbira`s election deserves to be treated as a victory, not just for the Southern Region Caucus but for the entire African continent.

According to her, they will ensure that sufficient support will be given to the elected bureau in terms of the prevalence of democracy, unity and inclusiveness for all Africans.

“These are some of the pillars of efforts meant to achieve and tackle challenges faced by the African continent, including gender parity, poverty, hunger, poor health and sanitation,” she said.

Furthermore, Kasingo said that the Bureau of PAP, after being elected, ensured that all elections of leadership in different committees implement the principle of rotation.

Kasingo expressed her joy, saying that as the Southern Regional Caucus, they were thrilled and proud of the victory of winning the PAP presidential elections.

She stated that being part of such a historic leadership shift is a great honour and will ensure that the plans promised by Pan African parliament president Charumbira during his campaign are met.

National Assembly deputy speaker emphasised that the plans promised by Charumbira are to strengthen the institutional capacity of PAP and to ensure that PAP has adequate financial resources.

She further said that the newly elected PAP president plans to ensure that there are equal opportunities for all PAP regional caucuses and synergies with other United Nations (UN) institutions, including engagements with other member states.

Kasingo has been appointed as the PAP committee leader on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution.

She said Venaani has been appointed as committee leader on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters.

“There were no losers. There were only winners who accepted their positions with grace and dignity!” she exclaimed.

Kasingo emphasised that out of 203 votes that were cast, 161 of the votes were for Charumbira.

Charumbira won the elections after the southern African region in June 2021 insisted that only the south and the north could stand for election as the west, central and eastern regions had already held the post.

Some other areas rejected the principle and insisted on contested elections.

The elections were presided over by the African Union Commission Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer and the Legal Representative of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Mahamat was representing Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and incumbent Chairperson of the African Union, who was meant to supervise the Session on an exceptional measure guided by Article 14 (1) of the PAP Protocol.

The protocol stipulates that the Plenary Session of the Parliament shall be presided by the Chairperson of the Union on the absence of the Bureau of PAP until the election of the President of the Parliament who shall thereafter preside over entire processes of the institution.

Hertha Ekandjo

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