S.SUDAN-In the race for top seat of Pan-Africa

By John Agok

Five parliamentarians representing South Sudan are in South Africa lobbying for the country to clinch the continental’s top seat of Pan-African parliament.

Speaking to Juba Monitor on phone, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Dau, said that South Sudan delegates were in South Africa to participate in the continental election that would bring in the new Pan-African Parliament president.

“The country will lobby for continental seat by influencing first Southern, Eastern, Western and Central part of Africa,” Dau revealed.

Dau refuted the claims by South Africa Member of Parliament who criticized South Sudan candidate of not yet being sworn by its’ own parliament, terming it internal problem that would soon be addressed.

“I don’t think so, some members criticized South Sudan MP of not having been sworn in while this is just internal issue.I mean we were there since 2005 despite this short internal arrangement which is in compatibility with R-ARCISS he said.

He acknowledged that, South Sudan had capacity and quality to show to the continent and the whole world.

“South Sudan has the capacity to deliver in term of leadership. We will start lobbying other regional bloc to vote for us in the top seat. We also regret the recent process that descended into a farce and we are optimistic to the win continental seat”, he added.

Dau cautioned that there should be no complaints from the three candidates who are from South Africa, Mali and South Sudan respectively.

“I don’t see any problem in who is to lead Pan-African Parliament and cautioned other regions from criticizing each other”, he concluded.

However, the candidates from Mali and South Sudan came under sharp criticism from other regions, especially Southern African delegates who insisted that their candidate be chosen to end the dominance by other regions.

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

Rather than risk its candidate losing in a three-way contest with a candidate from Mali and South Sudan, some MPs from Southern Africa disrupted proceedings, justifying their actions by pointing to the instability in the two states.

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

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

Critics, however, questioned whether Zimbabwe, where Zanu-PF had been in power since independence in 1980, was 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.

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