AU leaders 'endorse' Dlamini-Zuma for SA's next president as they say goodbye

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (File: AFP)
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (File: AFP)

Addis Ababa – African Union leaders bade farewell to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by giving her ringing endorsements for her battle back home.

In her farewell speech she also hinted that she wanted to continue her work on the continent, saying she would "remain a soldier for the African cause".

Dlamini-Zuma's term as AU Commission chairperson ended at the AU summit that was concluded on Tuesday, with Chad Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat elected to succeed her.

Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo extensively praised the work she did for women and on gender, and said she could become the second elected female president on the continent should South Africans vote for her.

Incoming AU chairperson, President Alpha Conde from Guinea, also said she could become president after her return. 

This came after Dlamini-Zuma singled out outgoing Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for praise as the first elected woman president on the continent, and also as the chair of the Economic Community of West African States. Ecowas recently intervened timely following a post-election crisis in The Gambia, forcing Yayah Jammeh to step down from the presidency after he lost the elections.

Dlamini-Zuma, however, failed to respond to a question at a press conference following the summit on how these endorsements made her feel.

Asked whether she was confident that Mahamat would continue with the gender agenda, she said it was “not a personal agenda, it was in the AU programmes”.

Just because he was a man, it did not mean he would not carry it through, "unless he doesn’t carry through any of the programmes", she said.

In her farewell speech she urged that Africa "should never allow ourselves to be divided by anyone, or by anything", and the continent should take common positions in world meetings about issues.

She concluded: "For my part, wherever I shall be and in whatever capacity, I shall forever remain a soldier for the African cause."

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