From PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI, (CAJ News) – THE 27th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union is ongoing in Kigali, Rwanda amid speculation the election of the new chairperson could be postponed to allow new candidates to vie for the position.
The post will be vacant next week as Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has not made herself available for a second four-year term.
The elections are scheduled for next Sunday and Monday.
Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi (Botswana), Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe (Uganda) and Agapito Mba Mokuy (Equatorial Guinea) are in the race to succeed her, representing Southern, Central and West Africa regions respectively.
There have been reports none of the candidates have not been convincing in their campaigns with some indicating Dlamini-Zuma’s Deputy, Erastus Mwencha, could hold fort until a time a “right” candidate emerged.
“Whatever the case, a new chairperson has to be found, since Dlamini Zuma has not put her name in the hat to run for a second four-year term,” said Liesl Louw-Vaudran, a consultant with the Institute of Security Studies.
“What is clear at this juncture is the need for a chairperson with gravitas; someone who can provide leadership when it comes to weighing in on strategic decisions, and show that the AU Commission has real impact on what happens in Africa.”
The election of an AU Chairperson has previously been a divisive issue.
In January 2012, Dlamini-Zuma came up against incumbent Jean Ping. In the first election, a deadlock in the voting as a consequence of an inability to secure a two-thirds majority of the vote meant that Ping’s term was extended by six months.
In July, she was elected over Ping after three rounds of voting in which she got 60 percent of the vote in a race that was largely about Francophone states against Anglophone states.
– CAJ News