July 13, 2012
The outcome of South Africa’s and Nigeria’s shuttling and lobbying around Africa in the past few months is likely to be decided this weekend when the African Union meets in Addis Ababa to decide who will become its commission chairperson.
Neither of the two candidates secured the requisite two-thirds of the votes needed to win in January and the lobbying since then has been fierce.
President Jacob Zuma, his Cabinet ministers and the foreign ministers of the states in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) have been lobbying countries to support the candidature of Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, arguing that the southern region has never led the continental body since it was founded 49 years ago. The position has been held seven times by West Africa, three times by Central Africa and twice by East Africa.
The point was made by home affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa this week, who said it was time for the southern region to be given a chance.
Those lobbying for the southern region also claim that Africa’s voice has become weaker in global politics under the current chairperson, Gabon’s Jean Ping.