Pan-African Parliamentarians stood up in disarray after chaos at the Continental body’s elections last week (Courtesy photo)

South Sudan up for Pan-African Parliament’s Presidency

By John Agok

The five parliamentarians representing South Sudan among 235 Pan-African Members of Parliament in South Africa are lobbying for the Continental’s top seat, despite chaos in the body’s elections last week.

The candidates from Mali and South Sudan have been criticized and accused of incompetence to lead the Continental’s body. 

But, the South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation insisted that his country has a quality to showcase to the Continent as well as to the World. 

“South Sudan has a capacity to deliver in term of leadership. We will start lobbying other Regional Blocs to vote us into the top seat. 

“We also regret the recent process that descended into a farce and we are optimistic to the continental seat,” Deng explained to Juba Echo on Monday in Juba. 

The Foreign Affairs diplomat revealed that its country’s delegates were already in South Africa to participate in the elections that will elect Pan-African Parliament new President.

According to the official, the country will lobby for continental’s seat by influencing the Southern, Eastern, Western and Central parts of Africa. 

He rubbished the factual claim that South Sudan’s parliamentarians were illegal since they have not been sworn in, describing it as an “internal arrangement that can be soon addressed”

“I don’t think so, some members criticized South Sudan MPs of not been sworn in yet but this is just an internal issue. We were there since despite this short internal arrangement which is in compatibility with R-ARCISS. We had been here since 2005”, Deng refuted.

According to Deng, there should be no complaints from the three candidates who come from South Africa, Mali and South Sudan respectively.

“I don’t see problem on whom to lead Pan-African Parliament and I caution other regions to avoid criticism of each other”, he concluded. 

The candidates from Mali and South Sudan are heavy criticism especially with other countries’ delegates insisting that the President should be chosen rather than elected to end the dominance of other regions.

Outnumbered in voting, the Southern African Bloc wants the position to be given to a Zimbabwean, Chief Fortune Charumbira, the current acting leader, in a deal that would see the Presidential seat rotates between different regions.

However, the Southern African Union risks its candidate losing in a three-way contest with either a candidate from Mali or South Sudan.

Some MPs from Southern Africa disrupted proceedings, justifying their actions pointing to the instability in the two states of South Sudan and Mali.

Mali is a country that has had two coups and has been suspended by its own regional parliament and subsequently by the African Union.

The other Presidential candidate is from South Sudan. 

“It is well known that currently South Sudan parliament is not operational, one wonders where this candidate is coming from – he has not even been sworn in by the parliament of his own country,” Ms Rwodzi Sophia, a MP of the Regional body’s Parliament said.

“Our candidate wants to rebuild reputation, focus on financial transparency and also look after members’ affairs,” she added.

Critics, however, question whether Zimbabwe, where Zanu-PF has been in power since independence its in 1980, is best-placed to champion democracy and accountability.

But the international editor of South Africa’s Public Broadcaster SABC said she sensed a yearning for change among younger members of the Pan-African Parliament.

South Sudan’s 550 appointed parliamentarians are yet to take oath as soon pending the president to endorse the validity of nominated lists from various parties’ signatory to R-ARCISS.    

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