Pan-African Parliament (PAP) president Mr Roger Nkodo Dang arrived in the country yesterday and immediately endorsed the new administration of President Mnangagwa, which has since been embraced by the continent’s legislative body. Mr Dang, a member of the National Assembly of Cameroon whose term as head of the continental body ends this year, was accompanied by African Union (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.
Mr Dang is on his first visit to Harare. He said he was in the country to canvass support for the Malabo Protocol, which seeks to set out parameters for the establishment of an African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR). “We are going to congratulate the new leader (President Mnangagwa) and to bring our warm wish for the New Year and debate,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is part of the African Union and, as the organ of the AU, I have to come here to visit the authority and to discuss all the issues which are possible to be discussed. For now, Zimbabwe has a new leader and we have come to meet and pay (a) courtesy visit to the new leader, and l have a very strong delegation.”
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 AU 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.
Once the protocol is ratified by 28 countries, the court’s international criminal law section will serve as an African regional criminal court, operating along the same lines as the International Criminal Court (ICC). Only 15 countries have appended their signatures to the proposal so far.
Eight have ratified it. “You also know that Pan-African Parliament has a new protocol and we are going country by country to lobby and ratify the Malabo Protocol. Zimbabwe is one of the founding members of the PAP,” he said.
“As we speak, the Malabo (Protocol) has never been ratified (sic), so we have come to discuss this. If signed, PAP will become the legislative body with the full power to legislate in the entire continent. So it is very important for us that Zimbabwe ratifies.” Asked if he will be seek re-election after his term of office ends later this year, Mr Dang said: “The election is true, but it is still far. I cannot talk about elections as l am still in the office and l need to work. At the end of my mandate, l will see what can happen. Our interest as the PAP is the whole continent, so l have to visit the whole continent.”
AU Ambassador to the US Dr Chihombori Quao said she would lend her support to issues Harare wants PAP to engage the US on. “As the AU Ambassador to the United States, the issues of the continent are pivotal to my mandate, especially where they lead to engagement with the United States. So whatever aspect that PAP is going to be engaging Zimbabwe on pertaining to the United States, I am here to give my vote of appreciation and support wherever l can.”