Dlamini-Zuma denies her candidature divides AUBy LUGENZI KABALE in Addis Ababa | Sunday, July 15 2012 at 16:23
South Africa’s Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has rejected claims that her candidature for African Union (AU) chairperson has divided the bloc between Francophone and Anglophone nations.
She further rubbished allegations that her candidature has also divided the continental organisation between the weak versus the powerful nations.
Ms Zuma also trashed a common belief about AU’s unwritten rule that those seeking to fill an executive position should not to come from key member states, which pay about 75 per cent of continental body’s annual budget.
The nations in question are Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Libya.
“In the African Union, unlike in the United Nations where there is the group of five permanent members we have no powerful, major contributor or a weak member. The AU charter treats all AU member states equally and each member states including South Africa, Libya, Egypt and Nigeria have a single vote to use in the election. I see no sense of saying I as a candidate coming from South Africa have violated the rule which moreover does not exist,” said the soft speaking diplomat in a press conference she convened in Addis Ababa.
She said the one who will be elected would have to bag a comfortable majority of 60 per cent so there is no point of division.
“For one to be declared a winner, he/she should bag 60 per cent majority vote not a mere 50 plus one,” urged Ms Zuma.
She further denied that the South African Government has been bullying smaller and weak African states to vote for her through intimidation and offering of soft loans and gifts as the case of a jet offered to South Sudan President Salva Kiir recently.
“We have no tradition of bullying. We suffered a lot in fighting for our liberation and we were supported by the very states which today they are termed as weak. We have bullied no one and will not in the course of this election and after,” affirmed the South African minister.
On why she is back on the ring even after knowing she never gathered majority vote in January, the SADC supported candidate said it is her quest to serve the continent adding that the incumbent did not secure the needed vote even after she withdrew from the January race.
She said the January vote indicated that AU needed a change at the helm adding that the leaders’ failure to endorse Dr Jean Ping proved someone else was needed to take over.
On the rumours that the AU has resolved to install an interim chairperson following the deadlock in her candidature and that of Dr Ping like the one it was done in 1984 when Nigerian diplomat Peter Onu was installed to takeover, Ms Zuma said the election was going to take place as planned.
On what will be her top priorities would be if elected, Ms Zuma asked journalists to wait until vote count is done as that is what she is currently concentrating on.
“It is not a matter of stating my priorities here at this press conference; the poll fight is really wanting so am assuring myself that am going to sit at Jean Ping chair. Please wait till vote count is done.”
The press conference came after reports started doing rounds that the Ping-Zuma contest is still hard to crack, something which forced SADC leaders under South African President Jacob Zuma meet and strategize before going into the AU Assembly opening ceremony.
This fact was evident at the early hours of the AU Assembly opening function as most leaders from SADC countries were missing from their seats in the conference hall.
Meanwhile, the AU feels it is time former South African president Nelson Mandela was declared the continent’s top idol and the moving spirit of the Africa.
This view was aired by incumbent AU President Jean Ping Saturday when giving his remarks at the opening of the AU 19th Assembly of heads of state and government.
“Given the huge and valuable contribution given by Mr Mandela during the height of the fighting the former apartheid South African regime and the way he demonstrated forgiveness to his tormentors and more important his voluntary power relinquishing after serving a single five year term as state president has left valuable mark for South Africa, Africa and the world,” noted Dr Ping.
Besides speaking in praise of Mr Mandela, Dr Ping said it is high time AU walks the talks of its founders who established the AU predecessor the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
“We are aware on the dreams of our fore leaders in the name of Dr Kwameh Nkurumah, Julius Nyerere, Keneth Kaunda, Madibo Keita, William Tolbert, Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella and Haile Selassie that they need Africa free of conflicts, diseases, poverty, underdevelopment and disunity, looking back today have we managed meet their dreams, if not why and what should be done to achieve these noble goals,” he pointed.
Should Kenya spend $8.2 million to acquire an office for retired President Kibaki?speak out
Read Story: Should Kenya spend $8.2 million to acquire an office for retired President Kibaki?
- Obama urged to cancel Dar visit
- Ethiopia edges closer to 2014 World Cup
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Nairobi in pictures: Past and present
- Hospital quiet on Museveni birth records mystery
- Ethiopia secures $300m Indian rail loan
- 7 Kenyans held in Lagos over deported 'Nigerian'
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- The Nile saga: Will Egypt and Ethiopia go to war?
Beyond the ballot