The African Union Commission, the executive branch of the AU, says it will hold the first-ever debate for the five candidates seeking to head the continental body.
Elections are due in January 2017 to pick a successor to South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who had decided not to seek a second term in office and, hence, this position is open for contest.
The chairperson of the AU Commission is the chief executive officer, the AU’s legal representative, and the accounting officer of the commission. The chairperson is directly responsible to the AU’s Executive Council.
In July this year, the African Union Commission postponed the election to January as a result of the non-attainment of the two-thirds majority by all then three candidates fielded for the position. This postponement extended the application and two others came in making it five candidates.
The five contenders are: Botswana’s Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi – currently foreign minister; Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat – currently foreign minister; Equatorial Guinea’s Agapito Mba Mokuy – currently foreign minister; Kenya’s Amina Mohamed – currently foreign minister; Senegal’s Bathily Abdoulaye – currently special UN envoy for Central Africa.
An invitation from the commission says all the candidates who have expressed interest in contesting will take part in the “town hall-style” debate on December 9th at the body’s headquarters in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
It is our sincere belief that this debate will help in the transformation of our union and Africa, as often elections of the union leadership occur behind closed doors thus denying the broad African public an opportunity to be informed and participate in the work of the commission” AU said.
The position of chairperson of the AU Commission does not only bring prestige and continental recognition to the person that is elected to serve but also to the country and region from which that person hails.