Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Pan-African Parliament (PAP) president Mr Roger Nkodo Dang yesterday described Zimbabwe’s transition as unparalleled, given the peaceful way in which it was executed.
He said it was important for the country to ensure that the forthcoming general elections were held in a peaceful environment.
In an interview with journalists after paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare, Mr Dang, whose term as head of PAP is set to end this May, congratulated the new administration.
“We came here to congratulate the new leaders and also congratulate the people of Zimbabwe who did very well,” he said. “We have never seen the kind of transition we saw here in November, very peaceful transition and I think we have to congratulate the people in Zimbabwe in general.”
Mr Dang said his discussion with the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces centred on the forthcoming general elections and the need for Zimbabwe as a member of PAP to ratify the Malabo Protocol.
The Malabo Protocol – also called the Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights – was adopted by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014.
It seeks to extend the jurisdiction of the ACJHR to try crimes under international law and transnational crimes.
“We discussed the situation about the continent in general and Zimbabwe in particular, the future of Zimbabwe,” said Mr Dang. “We discussed about the next election and I want to appeal to the people of Zimbabwe to look into the same direction like the Head of State to get a free and fair election because he promised us that they would be free and fair elections.”
Asked if PAP had been pushing for legislative powers, Mr Dang said: “That is why we are here, to lobby to ratify the Malabo Protocol, to legislate we need 28 signatures and today we only have 15 signatures and eight ratifications and we think Zimbabwe is founding father of PAP and should be the next 16th country to sign.”
Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, who was accompanying Mr Dang’s delegation, said President Mnangagwa had indicated that he had signed the Malabo Protocol during the time when he was Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“The PAP President was anxious that the Malabo Protocol should be signed and His Excellency said he had signed it long back when he was Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,” he said.
“We are waiting for the current Minister of Justice (Cde Ziyambi) Ziyambi now to bring the Protocol to Parliament so that we might ratify and comply with the requirements of the Malabo Protocol.”
On whether or not Mr Dang was seeking re-election given that PAP had adopted the principle of rotation among the five regions of Africa, Adv Mudenda said the issue was not discussed.
The Harare Bureau understands that Southern Africa had since elected a candidate to assume the presidency of PAP for the first time since the Northern African region, which had not yet assumed the presidency, had indicated that it was not yet ready.
Adv Mudenda said Mr Dang had assured President Mnangagwa that he would push America to remove illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, the same way the continental body did on Sudan, which saw Washington lifting the embargo on Khartoum.
“He also advised His Excellency that PAP managed to persuade the United States to remove sanctions against Sudan and that has been done,” he said.
“He pledged his support to work with His Excellency and the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the sanctions are lifted and we believe that PAP will play an equally important role as they did in Sudan and we are positive that the American government will respond positively to the request to remove sanctions against Zimbabwe.”
Mr Dang held separate meetings with Adv Mudenda, Senate president Cde Edna Madzongwe and Minister Ziyambi at their respective offices.
Mr Dang, a member of the National Assembly of Cameroon, was accompanied by AU Ambassador to the United States Dr Arikana Chihombori Quao, as well as PAP member of the finance and monetary affairs committee, Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa.