Spy Cables: Dlamini-Zuma’s AU election battle

2015-02-24 20:00

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Intense lobbying by South Africa, the US, and other countries, characterised the election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as African Union chairperson in 2012, leaked cables revealed.

The documents, leaked to Al Jazeera, also report a claim that previous AU chairperson Jean Ping had blocked South African security from inspecting the chairperson’s official residence ahead of its handover to Dlamini-Zuma.

Dlamini-Zuma took over as chairperson of the AU from Gabon’s Ping in October 2012, after a protracted election battle.

Her challenge to Ping caused a split between English and French-speaking countries, although Dlamini-Zuma was also opposed by three powerful Anglophone countries, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria, writes Al Jazeera.

An AFP report from July 2012 speaks of the six-month impasse over the body’s top job and Dlamini-Zuma winning a tightly fought vote.

Kenya’s assistant foreign affairs minister at the time Richard Onyonka told AFP he had disapproved of the “bulldozing tactics” used by South Africa in securing Dlamini-Zuma the chairperson position.

The secret cable alleges that the former French ambassador Jean-Christopher Belliard had “tirelessly campaigned against the candidature of Dr Dlamini Zuma” and that the United States “had also played a significant behind the scenes role in campaigning” against her.

Internal strife at the AU after Dlamini-Zuma’s appointment is detailed in the documents too.

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