Ongoing proceedings of the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa, has come to a sudden halt due to a reported case of COVID-19.
The proceedings were postponed from Thursday, May 27 to Monday, May 31, 2021.
According to reports, Clerk to the Continental Parliament, Vipya Harawa, announced to the House on Thursday that a staff member had tested positive for the virus and therefore poses a threat to the continuous running of the business scheduled for the day.
The House was scheduled to undergo an election process on Thursday to compose a new Bureau to steer the affairs of the Pan-African Parliament since the term of this current Bureau headed by the Acting President, Fortune Charumbura, expires by the end of this month.
The announcement was met with some disagreements from some of the Members of Parliament who felt that business of the House should continue regardless of the COVID scare.
They were of the view that both interim leadership of the PAP and the Members of Parliament were fully aware of the risk they were taking before they set out to participate in this session.
To them, there should be no excuses in the performance of their duty. And besides, they argue that the person who has tested positive is not a Member of Parliament and therefore that should be too much of a concern for the plenary to want to truncate the election process.
This generated a heated argument in the House for a little over half an hour before the Acting President insisted on an adjournment until Monday, May 31, 2021, where the election would be held after some disinfection of the environment and stricter COVID protocols have been put in place.
The House has been divided over the implementation of the principle of rotational Presidency of the Pan-African Parliament since the third day on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
President Nana Akufo-Addo was recently the guest of honour and keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony of the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament.
The ceremony took place on May 24, 2021, at the PAP precincts in Midrand.
At the event, the President addressed African Parliamentarians as they gather to engage on the African Union (AU) theme for 2021: "Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want."