Thursday, 21 July 2016

Dlamini-Zuma's busy swan song at AU

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's extended swan song as chairwoman of the African Union Commission has been more productive than the rest her of four-year term. Dlamini-Zuma doesn’t want a second term and will return home to South Africa. There, she’s likely to make a run for the presidency, a position currently occupied by her ex-husband Jacob Zuma.

Dlamini-Zuma initially struggled with the AU bureaucracy and diplomatic in-fighting, but now she has some important achievements to her name. In January, the AU launched its Rapid Reaction Force and at the AU summit this week, Dlamini-Zuma presided over the decision to send a 3,000-strong force to South Sudan to protect civilians. She has also made progress on her pledge to reduce the AU's dependence on Asian and European financial support: the 54 member states agreed to levy a 0.2% tax on specific imports which should raise about US$1.2 billion a year.

But one major piece of business was unfinished: the election of her successor. There was little enthusiasm for the three candidates in the frame: Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and Agapito Mba Mokuy, foreign ministers respectively of Botswana and Equatorial Guinea, and former Vice-President of Uganda, Specioza Kazibwe. Now the talk is of another three: Tanzania's former President Jakaya Kikwete, Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, and Senegal's Abdoulaye Bathily, currently UN Representative for Central Africa.

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