Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ‘undecided’ about AU job

2014-08-10 06:00

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AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says she is undecided about whether to run for a second term.

Her remarks indicate that she could be leaving a door open to return to SA and run for the ANC presidency.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of this week’s US-African Leaders’ Summit, Dlamini-Zuma was asked if she would lobby to be re-elected when her term at the AU expires in 2016.

“I haven’t really thought about that. I’m so immersed in what I’m doing now,” she said.

The race to be elected AU chairperson can be a fierce one and if there is a contest, Dlamini-Zuma would want to start lobbying early.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told the Mail & Guardian in an interview last week that she’d support Dlamini-Zuma for ANC chairperson and Speaker Baleka Mbete to run for ANC president in 2017.

President Jacob Zuma this week also repeated what he said in April – that SA is ready for a woman president.

Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu told City Press in an interview that she, too, believed South Africa was ready for a woman to take the reins.

Dlamini-Zuma was at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington this week, where she was the only woman around a table of male heads of state on Wednesday.

She was also seated next to US first lady Michelle Obama at the White House dinner on Tuesday evening.

Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – the only female head of state in Africa – didn’t attend the summit because of the Ebola crisis gripping her country.

At the summit, Dlamini-Zuma stepped up to negotiate on Africa’s behalf when matters of common interest were discussed.

She intervened, for instance, when the summit statement was issued by the chairperson, US President Barack Obama.

Although it wasn’t a communique, which represents a common position by all attendees of a summit, there were some issues in the statement that the African countries wanted to change.

Dlamini-Zuma told journalists at a briefing on Thursday that Americans realised “if they don’t come to the party, eventually the party will happen without them”.

She said that was one of the reasons for the summit.

From the African side, there has been some criticism about Obama inviting individual countries and not extending the invitation through the AU.

Obama’s invite excluded countries like Zimbabwe, very popular among AU member states, but whose leaders have been sanctioned from visiting by the US.

“Even though (the invite) was bilateral, behind the scenes, we (the AU) had to step in and coordinate them,” she said.

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