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AU chairperson election postponed, majority votes not attained

AU chairperson election postponed, majority votes not attained


The African Union Commission has postponed to January the election of a new chairperson who will take over from the Dlamini-Zuma led administration.

This was as a result of the non-attainment of the two-thirds majority by all the three candidates fielded for the position.

There are three candidates vying for the position of African Union chairperson: Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Ugandan vice president, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, Botswana Foreign Minister, and Agapito Mba Mokuy, Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister.

During the first round of the election, the Botswana candidate got 16 votes, Equatorial Guinea, 12 votes, and Uganda’s candidate got 11 votes, reports indicate.

The spokesperson for the current chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has hinted via Twitter that the election has been postponed till the next summit in January.

The Commission has not yet issued a statement on the postponement but sources at the Kigali Convention Centre say the ECOWAS bloc that petitioned for the postponement of the election did not participate therefore reducing the number of votes to meet the majority.

A few days to the election, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was reported to have called for the postponement of the exercise on the grounds that none of the candidates was qualified enough for the position.

Contrary to their petition, the commission proceeded in preparation for the election and member states went through the process.

“Stop speculating. There is no ECOWAS concern that has made an election to be postponed. Elections are going forward tomorrow. No more names are entering the list, while the elections are going on tomorrow. If somehow we are not able to obtain the necessary majority then the rules will kick in and you will be advised as to the outcome,” AU legal counsel, Vincent O Nmehielle told the VOA on Sunday.

According to the African Union rules, the winner for the chairperson position must obtain two thirds of member states’ votes and if no one wins, a second round will be held between the first and second candidates with the highest votes.

The only time there will be a suspension of the election is when no one obtains a two-third of the majority and then another vote will be scheduled.

The South African Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been the AU chairperson since 2012 and did not apply for a second term.

The postponement therefore means that the mandate of the outgoing administration will be extended for another six months.