23 January 2017

Africa: Choosing the Next Chair of the African Union Commission

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The candidates for the position of Chair of the African Union Commission: Kenya's Amina Mohamed, Botswana's Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea and Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal.

Given questions about the experience of previous candidates in the search for a new chair of the African Union Commission, it will serve us well to reflect on the type of leader required to take this continent forward. By Professor CHERYL HENDRICKS of the University of Johannesburg.

The impending departure of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from the key continental position of chair of the African Union Commission (AUC) has generated a highly contested election campaign for a new leader.

Elections were held in Rwanda in July 2016 with three contestants: Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi (Foreign Minister, Botswana) - Southern Africa, Mr Agapito Mba Mokuy (Foreign Minister, Equatorial Guinea) - Central Africa and Dr Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe (Former Vice-President, Uganda) - East Africa.

They failed to sufficiently inspire Member States who questioned their calibre. None could garner two-thirds of the vote and 30 countries abstained from voting. They asked for the submission process to be reopened and for elections to be postponed. These elections will now take place during the 28th AU Summit in the last week of January 2017.

Three new candidates have joined the race: Moussa Faki Mahamat (Foreign Minister, Chad) - Central Africa; Prof Abdoulaye Bathily (UN Special Representative,...


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