Pan-African MPs brawl over leadership voting
Leadership elections for the Pan-African parliament descended into chaos on Monday as lawmakers brawled over whether the presidency should be rotated by region.
eadership elections for the Pan-African parliament descended into chaos on Monday as lawmakers brawled over whether the presidency should be rotated by region.
ocal television stations broadcast live footage of the session degenerating into pandemonium, showing legislators kicking and hurling insults at each other.
A group of parliamentarians were seen wrestling over a transparent ballot box.
“No rotation, no elections”, several lawmakers chanted, expressing a demand for regional rotation of leadership positions.
“Leadership can’t always be in the west or the east of Africa,” one parliamentarian was heard shouting, adding that the violence was not conducive to a credible election in the body based in Midrand, South Africa.
At one point some MPs demanded the police be called in.
South African lawmaker Pemmy Majodina said the southern African region has been “bullied” for years.
“We have to put a stop on this and allow each and every region an opportunity to lead this continent,” she said.
Another lawmaker retorted that to the contrary: “We are being harassed by South Africans,” adding: “We are not safe in South Africa.”
Cameroonian Roger Nkodo Dang served two three-year terms as the president since 2015.
He was preceded by Nigeria’s Bethel Amadi, and before that Moussa Idriss of Cameroon.
The parliament sits for three weeks twice a year at its headquarters in Midrand, located between the South African capital Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Formed in 2004, the assembly is the legislative branch of the African Union, but in reality it is merely a consultative body.
Its members are elected through their national legislatures.