African Union leadership: Candidates to hold debate

African Union leadership: Candidates to hold debate

Candidates vying to be the next African Union (AU) leader are to face off in a public debate.

The historic debate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will allow the five candidates to outline their vision for Africa.

It is the first such a debate has been organised by the AU but the actual decision will be made by African heads of state next January.

Current AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is stepping down after declining to serve a second four-year term.

The debate will give the candidates the “opportunity to present their various perspectives in the area of leading the continental agenda for the upcoming four years,” the AU commission said on its website.

Organisers have asked people to send their questions to the candidates using the #MjadalaAfrika hashtag.

Promotional poster for the AU debate.Image copyrightAU
Image captionAll five candidates all well experienced in diplomacy and international relations

The candidates to be the next AU commission chairperson are:

  • Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi – Botswana’s foreign minister
  • Moussa Faki Mahamat – Chad’s foreign minister
  • Agapito Mba Mokuy- Equatorial Guinea’s foreign minister
  • Amina Mohamed- Kenya’s foreign minister
  • Abdoulaye Bathily – Former UN special envoy to Central African Republic and Senegalese environment minister

Anglophone Francophone divide

The candidates and their supporters have been travelling across the continent to lobby for support from member states.

The Kenyan government, for instance, has launched an intensive campaign to canvas for votes for its Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed.

“Kenya is putting a lot of weight into it, it is calling in a lot of favours to get member countries to support her candidacy,” Andrew Weir of Africa Confidential magazine, told Germany’s Deutsche Welle.

But by tradition, the post rotates between Anglophone and Francophone countries. Mrs Dlamini-Zuma, from English-speaking South Africa, succeeded French-speaking Jean Ping in 2012.

Candidates from French-speaking Chad and Senegal would be in prime position if this principle is observed once more.

But critics have rejected the notion that choosing a successor should be based on a rotational system, saying that the best candidate should be chosen irrespective of their origin.

Source: BBC

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