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Intrigues as AU seeks new President


au, nkosazana dlamini-zuma


By Ada Anioji


Ahead of the choice of a new President to replace Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the African Union, AU later in the week, a lot of intrigue is presently underway.

The choice of successor which is part of the agenda for the 27th assembly of the African Union (AU) which has already opened in Kigali, Rwanda with the theme: “2016: Year of Human Rights” is expected to attract a lot of jockeying and horse-trading.

Already, Dlamini-Zuma who hails from South Africa has already sent out word that she has decided not to seek a second term and there are speculations that Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, and Uganda will put forward the names of their foreign ministers to succeed Dlamini-Zuma.

Of the mix, Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is presently being touted as a possible successor.

As for Dlamini-Zuma’s political future, the word out there is that she is leaving the AU Commission to run for the chairmanship of the African National Congress as a stepping stone to taking on incumbent Vice President, Cyril Ramaphosa in the tussle for the presidency of South Africa.

But several commentators are unimpressed about Dlamini-Zuma’s tenure as AU Chair.

In a recent piece, former Chair of the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu asserted that there was really nothing to write home about the tenure of the South African politician and former wife of incumbent President, Jacob Zuma.

‘Whether it was the Ebola outbreak, drowning of African refugees in the Mediterranean, famines, the return of the god-President, the International Criminal Court or popular uprisings by young people demanding revolutionary change, the out-going Chairperson of the African Union Commission failed Africa. Her successor must be someone who understands, cares about and has a vision for the continent and its people,’ he affirmed.

Another point of contention is the plan by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to be Rwanda on Saturday for the African Union summit.

Last year, controversy broke out after Al-Bashir attended the African Union summit in South Africa when a local court ordered that he be prevented from leaving the country, but the Johannesburg government facilitated his return to Sudan.

Already, as host-country of the African summit, the Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced that his country will not arrest President al-Bashir during his coming visit to participate in the African Union summit.

“President al-Bashir is welcomed in Kigali at any time. He will be free in his second home country. We will not respond to the ICC calls to arrest him. We will not take any action of such type against him”, Kagame said.

Rwanda is not a state party to the tribunal of war crimes but has the obligation as a member of the United Nations to cooperate with the court. However like many other African capitals, Kigali is critical to ICC and to its focus on Africa.

In April 2007, the judges at the Hague-based tribunal had issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir, and for the governor of North Kordofan state Ahmed Haroun, who at the time served as state minister interior.


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