Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira: First Zimbabwean to lead the Pan-African Parliament


Honorable Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira is a well-known figure in Zimbabwean politics and has held several positions in various organizations over the years. Born on 10 June 1962, Hon. Chief Charumbira has more than 20 years experience as a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe. Here are some of the highlights of his career since 2004.

Chief Fortune Charumbira meeting with UAE and Egyptian Public Officials at the Arab Parliament in January 2023. Image courtesy of BGC Agency


Chief Charumbira is a holder of a Masters’s Degree in Consulting for Change from the European Institute for Business Administration (INSEAD/Harvard), a Master of Business Administration MBA from the University of Zimbabwe, BSc (Hons) Administration (with Administrative Law and Labour Law), University of Zimbabwe and is currently working on his Ph.D. thesis.

Private Sector

Honorable Charumbira has extensive experience as an institutional change, performance improvement, and Leadership Development expert, having worked at the World Bank, and international audit and consulting firms such as Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ernest and Young, and KPMG in several countries in Southern and Eastern Africa.

Deputy President of the Zimbabwe National Council of Chiefs

President of Chief’s Council Chief Fortune Charumbira and his Deputies at the National Chiefs Conference 2023 at the ZITF in Bulawayo. Image from Public Domain

Hon. Charumbira has more than 20 years experience as a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe and has held very senior positions leading Committees and presiding over  Parliamentary sessions and debates, as well as the Parliament of Zimbabwe Committee of Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO). In 2013, Chief Charumbira was elected as the President of the Zimbabwe Chiefs Council, and on August 10, 2023 Chief Fortune Charumbira was voted back unopposed into the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Senate, as the Deputy President of the Chief’s Council. As a leader of the Chiefs Council, Chief Charumbira is one of the most influential traditional leaders in the country, playing a critical role in advocating for the rights of Zimbabwean chiefs and ensuring that their voices are represented in national debates. The Chiefs Council is a body that represents the interests of traditional chiefs in Zimbabwe and advises the government on matters relating to traditional leadership and rural development.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

In 2008, Chief Charumbira was appointed as a commissioner of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). In this role, he oversaw the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe, including the controversial 2008 presidential election. He also worked to modernize the electoral system in Zimbabwe by introducing new technology and improving the accuracy of voter registration. However, Charumbira’s tenure as ZEC Chairperson was not without controversy. Some opposition parties and civil society groups accused him of being biased towards the ruling party and failing to address concerns about electoral irregularities. Despite these criticisms, Charumbira has maintained that the ZEC was an independent institution and that its decisions were based on the law and the constitution.

African Union

Charumbira has been actively involved in the African Union (AU) and has served on various committees, including the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Panel of Eminent Persons. He has also been a member of the AU’s Panel of the Wise. Acting President elected in March 2021, he is known for reviving the Pan-African Parliament after an acrimonious relationship with the African Union Commission. He was responsible for organizing Committee meetings and reactivating the Bureau and the Bureaxes meetings and led re-engagement with key AU organs. 

PAP President Charumbira in a media briefing at the African Union. Image BGC Agency

Pan-African Parliament

He has served as a member of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) since its inception in 2004. Hon. Charumbira was elected Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, representing the Southern African Regional Caucus in 2018. He served as the Chairperson of the Committee responsible for Audit, Public Accounts, and Administrative Performance for 8 years. Honorable Charumbira was also a member of PAP’s Committee on Cooperation, International Relations, and Conflict Resolution for 12 years. In June 2022, Chief Charumbira was elected as the President of the Pan-African Parliament, a position he currently holds. In this role, he has been instrumental in advocating for the rights of Africans across the continent. He has been vocal on issues such as good governance, democracy, and human rights.

Traditional Leadership

Chief Charumbira at the traditional leaders meeting. Image from Public Domain

As a paramount Chief of the Charumbira clan in Masvingo, he has been a strong advocate for the preservation of Zimbabwean culture and heritage. He has also been a proponent of community-based development initiatives aimed at improving the livelihoods of rural communities. He has been active in promoting Zimbabwe on the international stage, representing the country and traditional leaders at various international forums, including the United Nations General Assembly, the African Union Summit, and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Chief Charumbira has also been involved in efforts to promote tourism in Zimbabwe by showcasing the country’s cultural heritage. Though he is known for actively promoting and preserving the cultural heritage of the Shona people, who are the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe, he has also been involved in efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution in the country. He leads the Peace and Reconciliation Commission by President Mnangagwa to investigate ‘Gukurahundi’ violence committed against the Ndebele ethnic group in the late 80s.

Chief Charumbira (far right), stands with Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangangwa (middle), and Vice Presidents. Image from Public Domain

Overall, Honorable Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira has had a long and distinguished career in public service, and his contributions to Zimbabwe and the African continent as a whole have been significant.



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