I've capacity and experience to succeed Dlamini-Zuma – says AU chair hopeful

2016-11-30 11:53
Abdoulaye Bathily meets with President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria (Picture: Supplied)

Abdoulaye Bathily meets with President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria (Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town – Senegal's African Union Commission hopeful Professor Abdoulaye Bathily, 69, has met with President Jacob Zuma, as the race to replace Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma hots up.

Speaking during an interview with News24, Bathily said that he met with president Zuma on Monday, as he lobbied for support from across the continent.

"I met with president Zuma and some of the ANC members so that I could introduce myself to them. I stand for the unity of Africa and so I know quite a number of Africa's struggle movements," Bathily said.  

He said he had already taken his campaign to Morocco, Madagascar and Mozambique where he met President Filipe Nyusi.  

Bathily said that "uniting Africa" was his campaign strategy. He said it was important for Africa to come together and strive to become independent if the continent was to talk successfully about "sovereignty".

Bathily said he was confident that he would be elected the next AU commission chair, adding that he had the "capacity and experience".

See his campaign brochure below.

The AU was set to elect Dlamini-Zuma's successor in January next year.

African heads of state failed to elect a new head of the bloc's commission in July after they were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body during its 27th summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

None of the three candidates at the time was able to muster the two thirds majority required to win the secret ballot.

Ahead of the election in January, the AU announced recently that it was, for the first time, set to hold a debate for the five contenders.

The debate would take place on December 9 at the AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Bathily said he was ready for the debate, adding that the it would give the African people an opportunity to participate in the discussion of issues affecting the continent.

"It is good that for the first time the discussion will focus on Africa as a whole and not just individual countries. Depending on how the debate will be organised, I'm sure it will tackle issues about the African reality and most importantly, the future of Africa," said Bathily.

Asked what difference he would make to the continent if elected, Bathily said: "I would work under the guidance of the decision makers of the AU and that is the heads of state and governance."

Abdoulaye Bathily

Professor Abdoulaye Bathily. (Picture Supplied)

Bathily said his focus would also be on "initiative measures" which would help make "the AU and the continent better".

He said he aimed at focusing mainly on economic initiatives, infrastructure, agriculture as well as the sharing of knowledge among African states.

"We have too many African intellectuals who are working abroad and we really have to look at what we can do about this, as their knowledge can be used to uplift the continent," Bathily.

And how will these initiatives be funded?

"Africa has enough money to fund some of these initiatives. Africa has to strive to make the continent independent. How can we talk about sovereignty if we have the bulk of our funds coming from donors?," he said. 

The AU recently agreed on the method to use to fund the continental bloc.

The organisation agreed in July that all member states were to charge a 0.2% levy on all eligible imports so as to limit donor dependency.

Reports at the time indicated that funds generated through the levy would fund the AU commission's programmes and would go a long way to relieve financial challenges faced by the organisation.

According to reports, the AU currently took almost six months to intervene in a conflict on the continent.

Bathily, who recently stepped down as the UN special envoy for the strife torn Central African Republic - to focus on his campaign - will be battling it out with four other contenders; Botswana's Penelope Venson, Chad's Moussa Faki Mhamat, Equatorial Guinea's Agapito Mba Mokuy and Kenya's Amina Mohamed.

Dlamini-Zuma recently said that she hopped her successor would implement some of the goals set for agenda 2063.

Agenda 2063 sought to steer the continent towards higher social, political, economic and cultural values.

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Read more on:    au  |  jacob zuma  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  sa  |  mozambique  |  senegal  |  morocco  |  madagascar  |  africa  |  southern africa

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