President facing accusations of abuse of power and sexual harassment
Allaince for Progressives (AP) Secretary General Phenyo Butale has been appointed in the committee tasked with investigating Pan African Parliament President Roger Nkodo over a host of allegations including abuse of power and sexual harassment.
The Pan African Parliament, last week, approved the motion and established a committee to investigate its President (Speaker). The motion was presented by Botswana’s head of delegation. The decision came during a closed-door sitting held last week Thursday which followed a series of meetings called after staff at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) went on strike, forcing the cancellation of a scheduled sitting.
The sitting was suspended as the procedural House staff, together with their colleagues accused the President of nepotism, abuse of power and sexual harassment.
When presenting the motion, Butale said “I have read in detail a list of grievances from the members of staff and amongst these grievances is a strong allegation of sexual harassment. And we are not saying you are guilty Mr President but are simply saying let us agree on an ad hoc committee to go and investigate these allegations.”
Butale argued that the process allows the President an opportunity to clear his name and the integrity of the Pan-African Parliament. “I want to plead with you Mr President, for your own integrity and the integrity of this house please let us have an adhoc committe to investigate this matter. If we are not going to allow an adhoc to investigate it will show that we condone these allegations, so it is in your best interest and of this house. This investigation should be done in a true and transparent manner and without any undue influence from you.”
At the end of the sitting, two MPs were eventually selected from each of the regional caucuses of Eastern, Southern, Northern, Central, and West. Butale was selected to represent Southern Africa in the adhoc committee. They will be joined by the chairpersons of the House committees on Rules and Human Rights.
According to a document circulated by the PAP Staff Association (PAPSA), the staff complain that “(Nkodo) abuses his privileges and misuses his office and abuses his authority by making serious assaults verbally and threatening staff members. The deterioration of the general working climate within PAP due also to clientelism and favouritism as the method of administration with serious disregard of rigour, competence and merit have affected productivity and efficiency of the work of staff members,” reads part of the document.
It further adds that “Some of the female staff complained of sexual harassment, assault, and intimidation; and promising of favours if they give in to his demands. They will testify on camera to investigators.”
In conclusion, staff members pleaded for protection from all threats and intimidation by the President in order to ensure that they work in a better environment, and to advise, and save the image of PAP.