UNQUALIFIED CANDIDATES: ELECTIONS FOR AU COMMISSION CHAIRPERSON POSTPONED

Former Uganda Vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe polled 11 votes against 16 scored Botswana’s Foreign affairs Minister Pelomi Venson-Moitoi and Equatorial Guinea candidate Agapito Mba Mokuy, who garnered 12 votes. And when the first candidates were eliminated, 23 states voted for Botswana, still short of the two thirds.

More than 28 African countries abstained from the vote and this is being blamed on the west African regional block ECOWAS which had raised objections to the quality of candidates that were competing for the position but failed to stop the elections from going on.

According to sources who attended the voting, when ECOWAS failed to stop the vote, it tried to introduce a last minute candidate and this was foiled so they west African regional block led by Nigeria decided to stop the vote and this led to the deadlock and elimination of all candidates.

In the mean time, a new  interim Chairperson will be appointed when the current Chairperson steps down, and it will possibly be from one of Dlamini Zuma’s deputies. And a new voting round will be held at a later date.

Why did they do it?

As if speaking for a whole region, the former Chair of the Nigeria human rights commission Chidi Anselm Odinkalu  wrote in an Opinion article titled Good riddance Dr Dlamini zuma that

”When Dr. Dlamini-Zuma began her tenure in 2012, the AU confronted significant challenges in the spheres of peace, security and governance in Africa, as well as institutional reform and social affairs. Like T.S. Eliot’s Macavity, she looked “outwardly respectable.” Like Macavity also, she was just “not there.”

 

So Nigeria and the west African community were determined not to have another toothless Chairperson and the stubborn insistence that the elections be postponed until qualified candidates appeared was influenced by that determination, they want an AU commission chair with the stature of a president and ability to rein in on Africa’s growing club of life presidents.

They had hoped that Joachim Kikwete the former Tanzania president would throw himself into the race and when it didn’t happen they went on a hunt for a new candidate. The fresh memory of how South African regional block SADC unceremoniously ejected Gabon’s Jean Ping from the commission was also fresh and didn’t help matters.

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