The African Union summit is under way in Rwanda.
With Dr Dlamini Zuma’s incumbency coming to an end and her decision not to run for a second term, once again the 2016 AU Commission elections have aroused the interest of many commentators and stimulated further debate.
It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of these elections to the AU Commission they serve as the collaborative platform for all AU organs. The chairpersons and the commissioners are pivotal in the allocation of resources and determination of the AU’s agenda.
It also promotes a collective African voice and defends the position of Africa in the world.
Members of regional bloc ECOWAS had previously asked the AU to postpone the election of a new AU Commission Chairperson during this gathering.
They claimed they needed more time to appoint a candidate. However, that decision is up to the heads of state who meet on Sunday.
The positions of the chairperson, deputy chairperson and four commissioners (Political Affairs; Human Resources, Science and Technology; Infrastructure and Energy; and Rural Economy and Agriculture) are open, reported the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria in a recent article.
According to sources, a number of influential Africans approached the AUC arguing that the submission process should be re-opened in order to accept new candidates of a higher calibre.
However, if new candidates are to be accepted, the elections would have to be postponed until January 2017 and this would require consensus among the various African states and their respective governments to change the rules that govern the elections, added ISS.
Postponement of the elections would result in the new commission only taking up its responsibilities in March 2017, three months after the January 2017 Summit.
CCTV’s Jane Kiyo has an update from the Kigali Convention Centre where the summit is being held