Dlamini-Zuma set to stay in Addis until April

2016-07-18 16:04

Kigali - African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is set to return to South Africa only in April next year, after elections for her successor failed to produce a result.

At least three sources with knowledge of the elections at the AU summit that took place on Monday morning, as well as the subsequent decisions, said she would have to stay put, even though she is said to be keen to return to South Africa.

A fresh round of elections will be held at the AU summit in Addis Ababa in January, and she is set to stay on until then. After that, she has to stay an additional three months for a handover.

Dlamini-Zuma is one of the frontrunners in the ANC’s presidential race, set to be decided at the party’s electoral conference, which is expected to take place around December next year.

She is expected to address a briefing later on Monday on the outcomes of the summit.

Voting position on Monday morning failed to produce a two-thirds majority for any of the three candidates that were up for nomination.

It is believed that up to 28 of the 54 heads of state abstained from voting during the four rounds of voting, which an insider said was a "no vote of confidence" in all the candidates.

Uganda’s former vice-president Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe was the first to be eliminated, meaning she got the least amount of votes. Botswana's Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi – officially supported by South Africa – could at most muster 23 votes, still not defeating the number of abstentions.

The foreign minister of Equatorial Guinea, Agapito Mba Mokuy, who was considered to have the strongest campaign behind him with the most money, got 12 votes in the first round, and Kazibwe 11.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) expressed concern during the summit that none of the three candidates up for nomination were suitable for the job, and pushed for the elections to be postponed.

But AU legal counsel and director of legal affairs, Vincent Nmehielle, said it was against the rules of the body to postpone the elections on such grounds, which meant elections went ahead this morning.

There were questions about Kazibwe’s nomination, as she has previously been convicted of abusing state funds.

Some also questioned the suitability of Mokuy because Equatorial Guinea is a repressive state, while there were also questions about Venson-Moitoi, given the fact that Botswana’s President Ian Khama hardly ever comes to AU summits and holds views that are contrary to positions of many AU member states – such as his opposition to a withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.

Senegalese politician and diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily, a former Senegalese minister, is eyeing the position when a fresh round of elections is held in January. Nigeria is, however, also believed to be pushing for its candidate.

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