Dlamini-Zuma to vie for AU top job again

2012-01-31 07:34

Addis Ababa - SA says Nkosazana Dlamaini Zuma will vie for the African Union’s top job in the next election after she failed to secure two-thirds of votes needed to become commission chairperson of the bloc.

"Nothing stops us from fielding the same candidate because she has shown or proven to be a formidable candidate that the incumbent could not defeat," South Africa's International Relations Minister Maite Nkoane Mashabane said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the African Union on Tuesday extended the mandate of its top official Jean Ping.

"We have decided to prolong the mandate of the current commission until the next summit in Lilongwe Malawi" in June, bloc chairperson, Benin's president Thomas Boni Yayi, said at the end of a two-day summit in Addis Ababa.

Intense campaigns had preceded the vote for commission chief which dominated the AU summit in the Ethiopia capital, where leaders gathered to discuss broadening trade within Africa and tackling conflict hot spots.

Gabon's Ping, 69, who has headed the African Union Commission since 2008, sought a new term but was unable to obtain the required two-thirds majority in a tight race with Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of South African President Jacob Zuma.

"We went for an election and none of the two candidates emerged as a winner," Zambian President Michael Sata told reporters after the vote.


Analysts say the vote for the AU agenda-setting position has exposed political fault lines between English- and French-speaking Africa, as well as between different geographic regions.

"The result has shown up divides in the continent," Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, told AFP at the summit. "South Africa worked hard to reduce Ping's support base."

But Boni Yayi insisted: "The continent is united and there is hope that it will continue to be united."

Ping led Dlamini-Zuma in the first three rounds with 28 votes to 25, 27 to 26 and 29 to 24, AU sources said.

Dlamini-Zuma was then forced under AU rules to pull out, leaving Ping to face a fourth round on his own, but he still failed to muster the necessary votes.

Ahead of the vote, sources said Ping had been confident of re-election, counting on support from French-speaking West and Central Africa countries.

However, he has appeared to have fallen foul of criticism that he performed poorly in recent crises on the continent, after a year that saw a post-election conflict in Ivory Coast as well as the Arab Spring revolutions.

The AU was holding its first summit since the death of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, a key financier of the bloc, but who had allies mainly in French-speaking West Africa.

Tough campaign

Dlamini-Zuma had launched a tough campaign and had the backing of the 15-member Southern African Development Community, as Pretoria lobbied hard across Africa to drum up support.

South African delegates broke into song and dance after the stalemate vote conducted at the summit in the new ultra-modern AU headquarters built by the Chinese and unveiled at the weekend.

But Cilliers warned that while Dlamini-Zuma supporters were celebrating, her failure to win suggested many might oppose South Africa for the post too.

"Importantly, this result may mean that Africans don't want a key country such as South Africa in the position of chair," he said.

No woman has held the post.

"It's a good sign for gender politics in AU that a woman came so close for the vote to such a position," said Cheryl Hendricks of the ISS thinktank.

On Sunday, the 54-member African Union elected Yayi as its new chairman, a rotating post held for one year.

On the sidelines of the summit, protracted disputes between South Sudan and Sudan over oil and borders brought a warning from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Sunday that they threatened regional security.

"The situation in Sudan and South Sudan has reached a critical point, it has become a major threat to peace and security across the region," Ban told reporters.

  • Hermann - 2012-01-31 07:40

    Oh no!!!!!!!!!

      Dirk - 2012-01-31 08:09

      What about Boswell and Wilkie in the interim- good preparation for the AU "job"

      Gerhard - 2012-01-31 08:49

      If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again!

      Jou - 2012-01-31 09:07

      She didn't get that unwanted feeling the first time around?

      mundu.olewega - 2012-01-31 20:15

      This fat bitch is nothing if not persistant!

  • Alan - 2012-01-31 07:53

    AU AU Eish Eish

  • The-third - 2012-01-31 07:56

    The African Union is a laughable organisation that does nothing but cost money. A bowl of rice has more authority. Heading it up is like being the head waiter at Wimpy... in Orkney.

      Alan - 2012-01-31 08:05


      Eugene - 2012-01-31 08:10

      @ The 3rd: 2 thumbs up!

      csmattera - 2012-01-31 10:25

      At the moment yes. We cant even stand together in RSA, yet we expect the most corrupt continent to be able to - too much too soon. Slow you're roll - Give it time! Importantly, it has the potential to make Africa the core of future capitalism, which one should not neglect. This is where Africans stamp their authority in various stands versus the Asia, North America and the way there's BRICS - where this vote now also undermines our perceived value in Africa...

  • Sechaba - 2012-01-31 07:58

    no wonder i didnt get lot of PINGs on BBM yesterday

      Alan - 2012-01-31 09:05

      That Pongs

  • Stan - 2012-01-31 08:07

    AU... UN ... EU ... all the same garbage! SO called influential people running travel and accommodation bills for nought!!

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-31 08:10

    " the new ultra-modern AU headquarters built by the Chinese" The whole of africa is the bitch to the gods of africa - china !!

  • dhopwood3 - 2012-01-31 08:19

    According to the Mail and Guardian in a very weak article (which seemed to imply that NDZ's only achievement in her term in Foreign Relations was to commission a study on povery) the strategy adopted by SA to garner votes was to say 'agree with pressure (from the French?) to vote for Ping and then vote for NDZ'. If that's the extent of strategy emanating from the foreign policy staff, it's hardly surprising SA didn't win.

  • Larry - 2012-01-31 08:28

    Now that the new AU headquarters has been built by the Chinese, I would not hold any sensitive meetings in it. It is probably bugged from roof to cellar, as the American Embassy was in Russia and had to be completely demolished.

  • Da - 2012-01-31 08:30

    other African countries will not vote for Dlamini-Zuma bcoz of Xenophia,South Africans does like fellow Africans in their country why will these other African countries vote for South Africa..

      Allen - 2012-01-31 08:44

      It's because of 3 million Zimbaweans, 2 million Nigerians, 2 million Somalians, and now 1 million Chineese - and all the other "down-and-outs" that flock to our country. If we sent all these people back to where they came from, there would be enough jobs for everyone! No wonder local people are fed up. It's Dlamini Zuma's department that allows them into our country!

      csmattera - 2012-01-31 10:30

      Amen Allen! Da its easy to seeing the pityful side of a situation. But see the side of those who all these years had nothing, saw the glimpse of something...just SAW...then all of sudden there was someone else in a place they had seen themselves in...nevermind someone else...someone from another country - many a times an illegal immigrant who is being exploited for CHEAP labour and is more than happy to do the job! Then even worse...these refugees/immigrants have nothing good to say about MY country nor my people, are not out to help a South African soul yet use alll our free amenities to its max...REALLY?!? You dis this country with all your might yet are scared as hell to go back home...puzzling. So dont blame people who act out of anger at the little they had that was taken away. Just a passionate thought

      Willie - 2012-01-31 13:44

      @ Allen - clearly you do not understand ,start to educate yourself

  • Allen - 2012-01-31 08:38

    The AU is a well oiled machine, just like SA Home Affairs. Nkosazana Dlamaini Zuma is a shoe-in for this top job!

  • Peter - 2012-01-31 08:48

    Crazy stuff. They won't vote for her next time, And another deadlock. And the AU will wither on the vine. A secret plot to destroy the AU?

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-31 08:51

    "summit in the new ultra-modern AU headquarters built by the Chinese" So who is the AU, they cant even employ their own people to build their premises LOL, Chinese puppets, no wonder Zuma is pounding the corridors to get votes, she wants to sell the rest of Africa to the chinks, just like her ex.

  • Marc - 2012-01-31 09:04


  • Andre - 2012-01-31 09:08

    She should have taken more garlic and beetroot

  • Boris - 2012-01-31 09:11

    Typical, she is not wanted but she cant take hint to go away

  • mabotjak - 2012-01-31 09:12

    African Union has become nothing but a toothless dog.....they failed to live up to thier mandate. Somebody of the calibre of former president Thabo Mbeki is needed to revive the body.

  • Sikanyiso - 2012-01-31 09:17

    Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is one of the most respected female politician in our country and throughout Africa and diaspora. If this contestation were to come when she was in charge for department of foreign affairs, I have no doubt that Gabon' Jim Ping would have been defeated with a land slide victory. During that time, all African states were under South African hand in terms of control. The divisions between the Franco and English speaking countries were mended and the entire continent was fully behind former President of the republic. This was confirmed by a Canadian female Prime Minister during her visit to the country of South Africa. Our failed efforts to deploy Mama Dlamini Zuma reflects a number of challenges that the country is currently facing.

      Willie - 2012-01-31 14:03

      @ Sikanyiso--some of the people who comment on this blog you will think they from franco-african countries

  • baloyi.leonard - 2012-01-31 09:17


  • albert.ofentse - 2012-01-31 09:28

    Kudos to Minister of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-zuma, for vying the African Union's top post in Addis Ababa!She has indeed outdone herself magnificently!Surely,she will unhead Jean Ping in the next coming election.

  • csmattera - 2012-01-31 10:21

    Seems like a defeat, however highlights that our own African counterparts are afraid to lay their future in our hands. Which speaks to how South Africa has become so unstable, corrupt in the wrong places and just no longer a power player. We have a lot of work to do - especially as we THOUGHT we had this one - little did we know, most of the continent are not standing with us. Yah neh!

  • Jacqui - 2012-01-31 11:43

    I can't fix Home Affairs, so give me another job.

      Willie - 2012-01-31 13:57

      @ Jacqui--- Start to think and be constructive

  • Herbert - 2012-01-31 12:09

    Au, au. au. au, how come they didn't all vote for Eish Dlamini-Zuma in the first place "I can do typing, I can do governing, I can do ..........! The ignorance radiating out of incompetence is the downfall of civilization!

  • Elkieta - 2012-01-31 12:13

    Dlamini if you do this again then please put a bag over your head

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