Tough fight for African Union top seatBy LUGENZI KABALE in Addis Ababa | Friday, July 13 2012 at 18:53
With less than 48 hours left for camps led by South Africa and Gabon to make final inroads in areas where they did not win votes during the last round for the African Union Commission head contest, a diplomatic round-up here revealed the election was going to be a tough fight.
While the incumbent AU Commission President, Dr Jean Ping, was struggling to woo states which did not vote for him in the past, the Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma camp, which enjoys a strong support from the 18 member states Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc, was conducting what could be said to be psychological overt attack to drag the incumbent into a defensive position.
“The Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma camp (South Africa) has renewed efforts to woo states, which did not vote in favour of the camp and indications are they are winning hearts, though the toughest area has proved to be the Francophone region and Nigeria efforts to put up a tough fight to stop Nkosozana win. But the wind seems to be blowing in favour of Nkosazana camp while the Ping camp is really doing more of pleadings to voting nations to give its candidate a last term than wooing votes,” noted a Southern African state diplomat who did not like to be mentioned.
He said the move by South African International Relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to accuse Dr Ping of misusing the AU Commission resources in undertaking his campaign around several African capitals, showed how the Dlamini-Zuma camp was trying to force Ping into a defensive position, but also antagonising him with potential voters.
A source in the Tanzania diplomacy circles has warned of a no-winner vote, given a resurgence of the two camps' campaigns.
The source added that in an effort to seek an end to the impasse, the AU heads of states and government assembly may rely on a report by a committee of eight states tasked with seeking a diplomatic solution to the contest.
The committee is chaired by the incumbent AU Chairman, the Benin President Boni Yayi.
It involves South African President Jacob Zuma, Gabonese President Ali Bongo and other five African leaders.
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