SADC: Try again, Nkosazana

2012-02-13 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Home Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma must try again to be elected as the African Union Commission chairperson, the Southern African Development Community decided at the weekend.

Foreign ministers from SADC countries met in Cape Town at the weekend, where her recent defeat at the AU summit in Ethiopia was discussed.

Dlamini-Zuma contested the election against Jean Ping, the AU Commission head, who was standing for a second term.

She failed, but Ping also failed to muster sufficient votes in a closely run contest.

The AU has established a committee to decide whether he and Dlamini-Zuma may contest again at the next summit in Malawi.

SADC foreign ministers decided at the weekend that the region would propose her as candidate again, but would also argue that Ping should be barred from standing again.

A SADC minister that attended the meeting said it was felt that South Africa had campaigned on its own without the help of SADC.

“We felt that they tried to do it on their own. We were under the impression that International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane would travel throughout Africa to lobby for votes.

“But she actually focused on countries that were in any event going to vote for South Africa. She did not work hard enough to get the others.”

The SADC minister said colleagues from the entire SADC would now become involved in the campaign.

“We will try hard to convince friends from other parts of the continent. If Ping is out of the picture it will make the campaign easier.”

Dirco said yesterday Angola would represent SADC on the AU committee that would decide whether Ping and Dlamini-Zuma could contest the next election.

Speaking at the annual Dirco function at Veregelegen in Somerset-West on Saturday night, Angolan Foreign Minister Rebelo Pinto Chikoti said SADC would not stand back.

“South Africa has always kept to the rules. There is no … rule that SA can’t contest the position of AU Commission chair.

“It is SADC’s turn to propose a candidate and we will try again,” he told guests at the glittering function.

“We are not doing this as a fight against anyone or because we are arguing with anyone, or even against our dear partners,” Chikoti said, referring to the divisions between Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

SADC minister

We will try hard to convince friends from other parts of the continent.

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