AU fails to elect new leader as ECOWAS ab­stains

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Ab­dul­la­teef Salau, with agency re­ports

African Union lead­ers at a sum­mit in Ki­gali, the Rwan­dan cap­i­tal, yes­ter­day failed to elect a replacement South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Vot­ing for a new chair for the African Union Com­mis­sion failed to pro­duce a two-thirds ma­jor­ity for any of the three can­di­dates.

A for­mer Ugan­dan vice pres­i­dent, Specioza Wandira Kaz­ibwe, polled 11 votes against the 16 scored by Botswana’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter, Pelomi Ven­son-Moitoi and Equa­to­rial Guinea can­di­date Agapito Mba Mokuy, who gar­nered 12 votes.

When the first can­di­dates were elim­i­nated, 23 states voted for Botswana, still short of the re­quired two thirds.

This was be­cause over 28 African coun­tries ab­stained from vot­ing. The ab­sten­tion was re­port­edly blamed on the West African re­gional block, ECOWAS, which had raised a “no con­fi­dence vote” on the three can­di­dates but failed to stop the elec­tions from pro­ceed­ing.

Sources at the vot­ing said ECOWAS had tried to in­tro­duce a last minute can­di­date but this was foiled.

The re­gional block led by Nige­ria de­cided to stop the vote and this led to the dead­lock and elim­i­na­tion of all can­di­dates.

As Dlamini-Zuma’s ten­ure has been ex­tended to Jan­uary when new elec­tion will take place. She would have handed over in Oc­to­ber had a suc­ces­sor been elected.

Nige­ria may take the op­por­tu­nity to spon­sor a new can­di­date for the chair.

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