Zimbabwe Senator Charumbira Removed as Pan-African Parliament Head

PAP to Conduct By-Elections After Charumbira's Ouster Amid Allegations

by Adenike Adeodun

In a recent development, Zimbabwean Senator Fortune Charumbira has been removed from his position as the president of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The PAP secretariat has announced that by-elections will be held to replace him and two vice presidents whose positions are also vacant.

The reasons for their removal have not been disclosed. However, Charumbira, who formerly served as the President of the Chiefs Council, faced a significant challenge to his presidency in 2023 when allegations of embezzlement and sexual assault were levied against him.

At the time of these allegations, one of his deputies, Ashebiri Gayo from Ethiopia, declared himself the acting PAP president. Subsequently, the PAP convened a virtual session to discuss election modalities for filling the vacant positions, including the president, first vice president, and fourth vice president.

In a statement, PAP confirmed its commitment to the principle of rotation in leadership elections and explored various proposed procedures aligned with the PAP Protocol and other legal instruments. The aim is to establish clear parameters that will guide the upcoming by-elections.

According to a report by Newsday, the Pan-African Parliament, the legislative arm of the African Union, plays a crucial role in continental development. The recent virtual meeting reaffirmed PAP’s resolve to continue its influential role in Africa’s progress. The upcoming 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State, scheduled from February 14 to 18, are key events on the Union’s calendar.

Reports suggest that Charumbira’s ousting from the PAP presidency is linked to the slew of charges he faced, including sexual assault. He is also alleged to have embezzled significant amounts of PAP funds, including $4.5 million overall, with $45,000 spent on a trip to Egypt. Charumbira assumed the presidency of the PAP in June 2022.

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