African Union re-opens race for next AU Chairperson

The African Union (AU) has re-opened the race for the next Chairperson of the Commission, the deputy Chairperson and the Commissioners ahead of the polls in January 2017, the AU Commission announced recently.

The elections were suspended in July this year after a vote, taken during the AU Heads of State and Government Assembly Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, failed to produce a clear winner, leading to the suspension.

“The nomination process for the next Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and eight Commissioners of the AU Commission has been re-opened,” AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha said in a statement posted online.

The AU rules of nomination require the AU Commission to circulate the list of candidates to the AU member states at least three months before the election is due.

The elections were held in July, with three contenders, including Uganda’s Specioza Kazibwe, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of Botswana and Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea. None of the three garnered enough votes to be declared formally elected.

New candidates are expected to enter the race with former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete as favourite, along with former Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra, the current foreign minister of Algeria, and Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal.

The AU Commission says the re-opening of the process allows current and former candidates to enter the race for any of the 10 positions on offer.

The elections will be held during the next Summit on 30-31 January, 2017.