By Prisca Wanyenya
Zimbabwean Parliament Speaker, Jacob Francis Nzidamililo Mundenda has paid a courtesy to Uganda’s Parliament to solicit for support of Uganda, ahead of the highly contested Presidency of the Pan African Parliament.
Deputy Speaker, Anita Among on Monday 8 November, welcomed Speaker Nzidamililo to Uganda and informed her of plans to speak directly to the PAP-Uganda Chapter before the nation would take a final decision on which candidate will be backed in the upcoming elections.
“This is a diplomatic relationship that must be considered as a country, so the decision that is going to be taken by our members is going to be a decision based on the country. We will discuss and follow it up with the government and make sure that we come up with a position that our members will present and we will give you a position before election time. And I urge you to be hopeful, the fact that you have come here is more reason that you don’t have to worry about our country,” said Among.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was set up by the African Union 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.
The Parliament sits in Midrand, South Africa and its membership, 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 PAP Uganda chapter has five positions shared amongst (NRM) taking three, while independents and the official opposition, National Unity Platform (NUP) take one seat each.
Ugandan’s Members include: Anifa Bangirana Kawooya (Mawogola West) and Felix Okot Ogong (Dokolo South), who are returning to the Parliament for the second term, having been part of Uganda’s delegation there during the 10th Parliament.
Others are two first timers in Parliament of Uganda: Juliet Achayo Lodou (Ngora) and Eric Musana (Ind., Buyaga East), and Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (NUP, Kassanda North).
Nzwidamililo said that according to the African Union Principal of rotation, Zimbabwe has to lead the 4th parliament but South Africa wants to break the law and take over, a trend he asked Uganda to stand firm and oppose for the sake of fulfilling the diplomatic principles.
“My coming here, I am convinced that the Parliament of Uganda will stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the campaign. The position will be the position of Uganda as a country and obviously President Museveni will help us persuade South Sudan not disregard the principle of rotation which has been accepted by the African Union Commission,” Nzwidamililo explained.
Currently Chiefs Council President Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira of Zimbabwe is the acting PAP president and was nominated by the PAP Southern Africa caucus as its candidate, but elections were aborted in May this year over several disagreements. Nzwidamililo was later given an opportunity to campaign behind closed doors ahead of elections this month, after the initial elections in April 2021 turned chaotic after the teams disagreed on the mode of elections. This time around, the elections will be overseen by Legal Counsels of the African Union instead of Clerk of Pan African Parliament overseeing the elections.