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Africa: What We Want From the New AU Commission Chairperson

Photo: Addis Fortune

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.


The race is on to elect a brand new chairperson to switch the outgoing head of the African Union Commission (AUC), Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. There’s some speculation that the elections, slated to take place on 17 and 18 July On The Twenty Seventh AU summit in Kigali, will probably be postponed to allow new candidates to vie for the position.

Regardless Of The case, a new chairperson needs to be discovered, when you consider that Dlamini Zuma has no longer put her title within the hat to run for a second four-yr term.

Dlamini Zuma has now not been specifically standard in some circles in Addis Ababa. French media just lately quoted AU ambassadors who criticised her for having ‘accelerated the decline of the AU’. The French day-to-day, Le Monde, slammed her as being ‘without imaginative and prescient, taciturn and no longer present enough in Addis Ababa’. The acrimony between Dlamini Zuma and some distinguished francophone leaders dates back to her contentious election in 2012, when some felt francophone nations were forming a bloc to prevent her from taking the top place in the AU. The French media – to whom she very rarely accorded interviews – have also been relatively adverse to her all through her tenure.

Whereas her focal point on considerations like socio-financial construction would possibly no longer have endeared her to those that want to see fast outcomes, Dlamini Zuma’s supporters say that the continent will merit over the long term.

‘She used to be the primary girl president in 50 years; and she made us very proud,’ South Africa’s Minister of Global Family Members and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, informed the media Closing week. It is a little more than 50 years if one considers the Organization for African Solidarity was once founded in 1963. Certainly, Dlamini Zuma’s election was once a victory for African girls; and she did prioritise gender considerations all the way through her tenure.

Consistent With Nkoana-Mashabane, her former colleague will even be remembered for turning across the working methods of the AU and for being motion-oriented; relating to Dlamini Zuma’s flagship Agenda 2063 programme. Recent AU summits have been continuing In Line With time table, and heads of state are seeing extra results from these gatherings than up to now.

This Is additionally partly as a result of the absence of the previous Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who would arrive very late and then make lengthy speeches about African Harmony At The opening session of the AU assembly.

One Of The Vital greatest criticisms towards Dlamini Zuma is that she didn’t keep up a correspondence enough on peace and safety considerations. She hardly travelled to war zones, and her comments over these scenarios were incessantly restricted to statements expressing situation. She also failed to talk out Certainly about abuses like the controversial move via a few African leaders to extend their keep in power. To her credit, she did forge sturdy relationships with media that did not in the past take notice of the AU. This contains the Chinese media – an increasingly more important associate to the AU. But Dlamini Zuma did not all the time manage to effectively reach a much wider audience.

What is apparent at this juncture is the need for a chairperson with gravitas; someone who can provide management with regards to weighing in on strategic decisions, and express that the AU Fee has real affect on what happens in Africa.

He Or She must convey member states that the AU is a rewarding corporation which now not best holds meetings, but also mediates efficiently to end conflicts, mandates peace operations and warns member states of impending crises.

The Brand New chairperson would additionally must persuade electorate that it’s of their pastime for the AU to mediate in conflicts and to warn about imaginable crises that can be averted thru early action. Continuing Dlamini Zuma’s plans for long-term building via Agenda 2063 will have to even be a priority.

The AUC should show that it could actually lead governments to extend women’s participation in political choice making (Dlamini Zuma’s gender scorecard may also be useful here); that it may be instrumental in ridding the continent of archaic practices like child marriage and excision; and, After All, it should convey the AU does have a job in selling financial development, like boosting intra-African alternate. These are usually not problems that can be solved overnight, however the AU needs to reveal that its many pricey meetings and conferences are worthwhile.

Briefly, The Brand New chairperson should be anyone with sophisticated information and experience, but additionally any individual who can also be persuasive, diplomatic and act with charisma. She Or He has to be in contact neatly and exhibit leaders and countries that the AU drives concrete steps towards peace, Team Spirit and bettering the lives of Africans.

Why is that this so vital now? Aside From Continuing to construct on the imaginative and prescient of the founders of the AU, it boils all the way down to bread-and-butter considerations. To continue functioning and to hold out its formidable plans, the AUC wants extra money. To be credible, it also must be impartial from out of doors funding. But this is not imminent.

On The 25th AU summit in Johannesburg Closing yr, African leaders dedicated to increasing their contributions to the AU finances to achieve 75% of the programme finances; and 25% of the peacekeeping funds. The purpose is to achieve this by way of 2020. In The Meantime, the richest countries – like South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Angola – will have to up their contribution to 15% of the budget.

In Keeping With insiders, the AU is very a long way from reaching this intention. To The Contrary, international locations are merely now not paying their dues and Dlamini Zuma has had no influence in this regard. Last week, an skilled South African diplomat stated that the massive backlog in the AU contributions is partly due to the slowdown in the economies of the big, oil-producing countries. But That Is no excuse. ‘They pay their dues to the UN [United Nations], why no longer the AU?’ he said.

Is it as a result of African countries assume the UN is extra relevant than the AU? Indubitably the global business enterprise, which can be electing a new secretary-normal this 12 months, has the most important impression on issues of global subject.

The blue UN helmets are recognisable throughout the continent, and it intervenes to deal with refugees, feed hungry populations and provides well being services and products to the poor. Of Course, the UN has more cash to do this. The AUC’s annual budget is simply over US$400 million (except for for peace operations, that are almost totally funded by means of exterior sources), and it employs around 2 000 individuals. The UN has a budget of US$5.Four billion and employs 40 000 individuals.

For African nations, assisting the AU will have to be the primary precedence. It appears contradictory that states don’t pay their dues Whereas many African states Certainly recognize that their economies are simply too small to have any influence globally; and that continental integration is the right way to go. No Brexit right here. The Only business enterprise that can be certain that this sluggish process in opposition to Team Spirit is the AU.

It Is Very Important remember that the AUC chairperson would not have free rein to choose the route the AU should be taking. She Or He is restricted by using the AU Constitutive Act, and is thought to be by means of some heads of state as in basic terms heading the AU ‘secretariat’. Nonetheless, selecting a brand new chairperson with all the attributes wanted could be an important for the AUC to force these ideals and exhibit its relevance.

Liesl Louw-Vaudran, ISS Guide

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