Vote for AU Chairperson Ends in deadlock
The elections of the new African Union Commission chairperson has ended in a deadlock after no contender garnered two-thirds of all votes as required by the statute governing such polls. Elections have been postponed to January next year at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia.
Three candidates in the race; Foreign Minister of Botswana, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, former Vice President of Uganda Dr. Speciosa Kazibwe and Agapito Mba Mokuy were vying to follow in the steps of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma whose term of office has come to an end.
In a closed-door voting exercise conducted by the Heads of State and Government on the last day of the 27th African Union Summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, reports have indicated that 28 countries abstained from the voting exercise which complicates the electoral process.
The first round ended in a stalemate as no candidate managed to attain at least 36 votes compulsory to be declared a winner.
Despite no official communique has been issued, a section of media houses took to social media to confirm that 23 out of 53 voted in favor of 69 year-old Botswanan, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
It is reported that the elections were suspended and re-set for January 2017.
The African Union Chairperson Commission and deputies are elected in secret ballot by the Heads of State whereas commissioners are voted by Ministers for Foreign Affairs.
Even before the launch of this election, there had been two factions within the state members, one requesting to postpone the elections citing that no runner has pedigree to take the African Union Commission leadership and the other one insisted that the polls should be maintained as a part of respecting rules put in place by state members.
Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo who was one of the champion for the elections said; “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.”