Juba, South Sudan, June 02, 2021 – Lawmakers at the Pan African Parliament were on high emotions after chaos erupted at the continent’s legislative body with some Members of Parliament heard issuing verbal death threats against their colleagues.
The Pan African Parliament, where South Sudan is represented, was conducting a session to elect its new President before a disagreement commenced among the three regions that favored different electoral processes.
The motion brought the Southern African delegates at loggerheads with their Eastern and Western counterparts. While Southern Africa is demanding a rotational presidency, the eastern and western delegates prefer a vote-based system.
After the start of the session to elect the new president on Tuesday night, the disagreement ensued and led to physical confrontation and assault among representatives with women getting kicked and pushed around.
According to News24, the chaos erupted after a letter believed to be submitted by the African Union to the Pan African Parliament, also known as the PAP, over reforming the contested voting procedure.
For the second day in a row, the Southern African delegation has reportedly refused to go ahead with the vote, insisting on a rotational presidency while delegates from the other two regions demanded that the voting go on.
“The ad-hoc committee hopes that today we members of parliament are going to conduct ourselves as we should and…continue because we are here, representing our respective countries, but also the people of Africa,” the committee chairperson Jaynet Kabila was quoted to have said.
The ad-hoc committee is a body charged with organizing and managing elections. However, the content of its letter did not go down well with the Southern African delegates.
“I do not agree with going ahead with these elections unless we follow what has been written to clerk of this parliament,” Zimbabwe’s Barbara Rwodzi who is also a member of the ad-hoc committee said.
Julius Malema, the leader of South Africa’s opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, tried to rise on a point of order but it was turned down by Kabila, opening the floodgate for tension,
In a video clip viewed by Nyamilepedia, Julius Malema, in a heated verbal exchange, could be heard – with a ferocious facial expression, telling a representative from West Africa that “You don’t know me. I will kill you outside parliament”.
The threats provoked another western legislator who rose against Malema before getting intercepted by other members of the house.
Commentators have condemned the conduct by the MPs saying it was very damaging to the image of a nascent continental organization yet to prove its relevance.