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What we want from the new AU Commission chairperson 0

The race is on to elect a new chairperson to replace the outgoing head of the African Union Commission (AUC), Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

There is some speculation that the elections, slated to take place on 17 and 18 July at the 27th AU summit in Kigali, will be postponed to allow new candidates to vie for the position.

Whatever the case, a new chairperson has to be found, sinceDlamini Zuma has not put her name in the hat to run for a second four-year term.

Dlamini Zuma has not been particularly popular in some circles in Addis Ababa. French media recently quoted AU ambassadors who criticised her for having ‘accelerated the decline of the AU’.The French daily, Le Monde, slammed her as being ‘without vision, taciturn and not present enough in Addis Ababa’. The acrimony between Dlamini Zuma and some prominent francophone leaders dates back to her contentious election in 2012, when some felt francophone countries were forming a bloc to prevent her from taking the top position in the AU. The French media – to whom she very rarely accorded interviews – have also been fairly hostile to her throughout her tenure.

While her focus on issues like socio-economic development might not have endeared her to those who want to see immediate results, Dlamini Zuma’s supporters say that the continent will benefit over the long term.

‘She was the first woman president in 50 years; and she made us very proud,’ South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, told the media last week. It is a little more than 50 years if one considers the Organization for African Unity was founded in 1963. Clearly, Dlamini Zuma’s election was a victory for African women; and she did prioritise gender issues during her tenure.

According to Nkoana-Mashabane, her former colleague will also be remembered for turning around the working methods of the AU and for being action-orientated; referring to Dlamini Zuma’s flagship Agenda 2063 programme. Recent AU summits have been proceeding according to schedule, and heads of state are seeing more results from these gatherings than in the past.

Continue reading on Institute of Security Studies

by Liesl Louw-Vaudran

Photo Credits: ISS

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