Down with Anglophone, Francophone dominance at PAP

07 June 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Namibia’s foreign affairs minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has echoed Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani’s sentiments that Francophone and Anglophone countries bully other African countries at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

Chaos erupted last week around the question on whether to elect or rotate the PAP presidency, with several lawmakers objecting aggressively and a female MP being kicked out.

Venaani and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema made waves across the continent when they said the dominance of French-speaking countries can no longer be tolerated and that instead of elections, rotation should be used to allow all blocks an opportunity to lead parliament.

Southern African legislators argued that rotation will give them a fairer opportunity to take the reins, while elections will always keep them at a disadvantage because they are in the minority.

“One group and one language has threatened to divide Africa. We were nearly led by the undemocratic Mali and we were vindicated by the suspension of the double coup d'etat country by the African Union [AU]. An undemocratic nation, known mostly only because of its unstable civilian governments, wanted to take over the reins of power in the PAP, however, a joint and collective effort by the Southern African region led to the collapse of the unjust election,” Venaani said.

Serious challenge

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said members of PAP represent their respective parliaments and not necessarily their governments; however, the language tug of war is a serious challenge on the continent.

“It is causing divisions on the continent. It is, therefore that we must stop seeing ourselves as English and French-speaking, but as Africans. The issue under discussion is geographical rotation. From my experience from the AU, all the assignments are done based on rotation, which means rotation between the five regions of Africa. Unfortunately, in parliament there are those who don’t want that. Rotation can help the continent to have a balance and give everybody a chance at leadership. Even at the AU and the United Nations, there is rotation,” she said.

She added that with elections, some countries and regions with more people will always have the majority while regions with small numbers will remain left out.

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