Premium Journalist
2 minute read
8 Nov 2016
5:41 am

Kenya lobbying hard as AU chairperson race heats up


It will be no easy feat to fill the shoes of South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Former Africa Union Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Danielle Karallis)

Lobbying for the position of the next African Union (AU) chairperson, which becomes vacant in January, is hotting up.

It will be no easy feat to fill the shoes of South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

On July 15, 2012, Dlamini-Zuma was elected AU Commission chairperson, making her the first woman to lead the organisation – including its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity.

She took office on October 15, 2012 and has been tipped as a possible leader of the African National Congress and South Africa. At the AU Summit in Kigali in July, Dlamini-Zuma was asked to extend her appointment by a further six months after the AU failed to find a suitable replacement.

The candidates include Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal, Agapito Mba Mokuy from Equatorial Guinea, Botswana’s Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad and Kenya’s Amina Mohamed.

According to Elissa Jobson from the International Crisis Group (ICG), an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict, Mohamed is the early pacesetter.

“Kenya is lobbying hard on her behalf and President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are involved in the campaign,” said Jobson.

Mohamed has secured the endorsement of Comesa, an economic grouping of 19 African states. Other countries said to back her include Algeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Guinea and Togo.

“She will need the support of much of Francophone Africa if she is to secure the 36 votes needed to win. However, the fact that a Kenyan, Erastus Mwencha, has held the post of Deputy Chairperson for the past two years may count against her,” Jobson explained.

Mohamed is one of the few candidates who has clearly set out her priorities – foreign direct investment, trade, industry and gender equality will be her primary concerns. During her time as Kenyan foreign minister, she has established a visible international profile and gained vital experience on the global stage.

Navigating the dispute with the International Criminal Court, she has demonstrated her ability to collaborate and build alliances with her fellow foreign ministers, explained Jobson.

African News Agency