Who will be AU's next chairperson?

18Jul 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Who will be AU's next chairperson?

AS Heads of State continue to arrive in Kigali for the ongoing African Union Summit, last minute lobbying and quiet campaigns for the chairperson position continue to dominate the summit's venues across the city.

Candidates and their delegations were yesterday making final attempts to convince Africa that they were the best qualified for the job.

The ongoing African Union summit has on its agenda elections of new officials to the commission that include the chair and deputy chairperson positions.

However, the scheduled elections have not been without controversy and uncertainty.
Days to the elections, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) had written to the African Union Commission calling for postponement of the exercise on the grounds that none of the candidates was qualified enough for the position.
However the union's legal advisory team found their request and petition to be extra to the procedures provided for by the African Union's legal instruments and maintained that the elections would be on.

Speaking exclusively to Sunday Times, Prof. Vincent Nmehielle, the Director for Legal Affairs at the African Union, said that the elections would proceed and that all countries, including ECOWAS, member countries had been involved in the nomination and vetting exercise.

"According to the legalities of the elections and the rules of procedure and order of the election and the statutes of the Commission, the process of nomination was concluded by member states and vetted by independent experts who presented their report to the ministers of foreign affairs who met to consider and approve the list," he told this paper.
This year's contenders for the position are; Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe of Uganda, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi from Botswana, and Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea.

The three candidates are largely seen as representatives of their respective regions and will be expecting backing from their blocs.

ECOWAS which had presented a petition to postpone the elections is notably without a candidate among the contenders.
Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, East Africa's candidate became popular beyond Uganda's borders as Uganda's Vice president and former UN special envoy on HIV/Aids for Africa.

Kazibwe who is counting on support of Eastern African countries and a section of Northern Africa says that if accorded the chance she would, among other things, prioritise gender parity, involvement of the private sector and peace and security.
In recent weeks beginning April this year, Dr. Kazibwe has been on a campaign trail that she says has taken her across to West Africa, North Africa and Eastern African region.

"I have met various national leaders including the head of ECOWAS and the head of the Franco-phone countries to seek support," she said in an interview.