AU faces factions over election of new chairperson
Rwanda insists that elections of the new African Union Chairperson will be held, despite growing factions within the body at the ongoing 27th African Union Summit in the capital Kigali.
Three candidates; Uganda’s former Vice President Dr. Specioza Kazibwe, Foreign Minister of Botswana, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Agapito Mba Mokuy are in the race to succeed Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma whose term of office has come to an end.
However, 15 countries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had penned to the AU requesting to defer elections on grounds of lacking ‘high caliber’ candidates.
Meanwhile, a section of Southern African Development Community (SADC) members also want elections delayed. They claim that Dr. Dlamini Zuma could bounce back if she fails to clinch the top African National Congress (ANC) job as successor to President Jacob Zuma. The other reason they cite is that Dr. Moitoi from SADC bloc has no big chance to win given Botswana’s questionable foreign policy.
Speaking to local and International journalists yesterday, Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo insisted that nothing will stop the elections.
“Absolutely the election will go on … the view of my country and quite a few others is that we need leadership for the commission without delay.”
She added that there is no rule at this point, just few days before the summit would stop the elections. “Heads of state in the assembly are sovereign, who knows! But my view the elections will go on.”
The East African bloc and the Northern countries seem to agree to hold elections as part of abiding by the rules put in place by member states.
Reacting to the calls of the postponement of the AU Commission, Uganda’s Foreign Minister, Sam Kutesa said during a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the summit that, “We oppose to this. We can’t break our rules.”
In support of Minister Kutesa, Foreign Affairs Minister of Algeria, Ramtane Lamamra said, “Postponement of elections would amount to breaking rules”,
The chairperson of the African Union and deputies are voted in secret ballot by the heads of state whereas commissioners are elected by ministers for Foreign Affairs.
The winner of the post has to garner two-thirds of all votes.