Two Zimbabweans are vying for top African Union positions at the continental body's 28th summit scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, later this month.
The two are Dr Hesphina Rukato, who has been selected as a candidate for the position of Commissioner for Political Affairs and Dr Pride Chigwedere, who will vie for Commissioner for Social Affairs.
Dr Rukato holds a PhD in Environmental Management Standards from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
"I also have a MSc in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe, as well as a BSc (Honours), Politics and Administration," she stated in her campaign profile.
"I am currently working as a consultant, and Associate Lecturer-Good Governance at the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute (TMALI) at the University of Pretoria. I am also a technical committee member for the Tana Forum on Peace and Security in Africa."
Dr Rukato said she worked as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Bureau of the AU Commission Chairperson from October 2012 to February 2014.
Prior to that, she worked as a consultant to the African Union Commission and the Institute of Peace and Security Studies at the University of Addis Ababa.
"This included my role as the co-ordinator for the first Tana Forum," she said.
"Between 2002 and 2009, I worked for the Nepad secretariat in South Africa, first as Advisor on Environment and Tourism, and from 2005 to 2009 as deputy chief executive officer.
"I have worked in multicultural and diverse settings in multiple institutions in Africa, an attribute that is critical for the AU Commission setting. All the qualities outlined above, combined with my very strong passion for Africa, make me a suitable candidate for the position of Commissioner, Political Affairs."
Dr Chigwedere, who will vie for Commissioner for Social Affairs, has impeccable credentials and has garnered invaluable mentorship and experience from the world's greatest universities such as Harvard, leading management strategy companies such as McKinsey, and multilateral organisations, including the United Nations and the AU.
He holds a Doctor of Science degree from the Harvard School of Public Health (2007), Degrees of Medicine and Surgery (MD equivalent) earned from the University of Zimbabwe Medical School (1997) and has published academic papers in international peer-reviewed journals, that have been cited by other academic publications more than 700 times.
Dr Chigwedere has taught Physiology and Anatomy at the University of Zimbabwe Medical School (1995-1997) and taught at four Harvard Schools - the College, Medical School, School of Public Health and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2002-2008).
He is knowledgeable about the African Union and continental institutions and is the UNAIDS senior advisor to the African Union, assisting in developing and monitoring implementation of HIV and Aids, and health policies.