South Africa has indicated interest in campaigning for Botswana Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, to succeed African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma’s term will end this year as AU commission chairperson. The union is expected to elect her successor at its summit holding next week in Kigali.
This development was confirmed by SA’s International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. The minister told reporters on Monday that “the region is campaigning with her and South Africa is fully behind this initiative”.
Remarkably, SADC backed Venson-Moitoi’s candidature three months ago. Dlamini-Zuma would have been re-elected but she failed to indicate interest in her re-election.
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It was gathered that she is likely to run for a leadership position in the ANC next year. Her ambition became clearer when she hinted that Venson-Moitoi was suitable to succeed her because “she’s been around in government” and she has been a minister.
She however failed to surmise if Venson-Moitoi’s bid would be successful.
“We never entered speculation over whether a candidate from our region will win the race or not. Let’s leave it to the democratic process,” she said.
Reports from The Peace and Security Council Report from the Institute for Security Studies shows Venson-Moitoi could be having a rough ride.
This is because her bid “could be complicated by the fact that Botswana has not always gone along with AU positions on issues such as the International Criminal Court”.
Meanwhile, Buzzsouthafrica gathered that Venson-Moitoi would be pitting wits against prominent figures in Africa. They include: Equatorial Guinea’s foreign minister, Agapito Mba Mokuy and Uganda’s former vice-president, Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe.
Another candidate perceived to be a good successor is Professor Abdoulaye Bathily. Bathily is special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Africa.
Many asserted that Uganda’s Kazibwe has a strong international profile, but she hasn’t been considered as a serious candidate.
Dlamini-Zuma’s election campaign in 2013 was strongly opposed by francophone countries. In fact, the continent was so divided that voting was postponed for six months after the first round of voting.