|Dlamini-Zuma elected AU commission chair|
|Monday, 16 July 2012 15:22|
Caesar Zvayi in ADDISABABA, Ethiopia
So tight was the contest that the ad-hoc Committee of Eight Heads of State and Government that was tasked to break the impasse in January had recommended that new candidates be fielded when they failed to broker a deal on who between Dr Dlamini-Zuma and Ping should be at the helm of the AU secretariat after six months of trying.
Insiders said Dr Dlamini-Zuma had led Dr Ping throughout the three rounds of voting till the then incumbent dropped out after the third round in line with the rules of the contest.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma garnered 27 votes to Ping’s 24 in the first round; 29 votes to 22 in the second round and 33 votes to 18 in the third round of voting at which point Dr Ping was forced to drop out leaving Dr Dlamini-Zumato to vie for the two-thirds majority as a sole candidate in the fourth round.
She duly managed the feat after amassing 37 country votes, three above the threshold for outright victory.
Responding to questions shouted by the jostling hordes of reporters, President Mugabe said he was happy with the outcome, and happy for Sadc.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni described the new Commission chair as a freedom fighter.
Convening under the theme “Consolidation of intra-African trade”, the summit, apart from electing the chairperson and the deputy chairperson of the Commission, was also set to appoint the eight Commissioners of the AU and the three Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
In his address to Summit yesterday AU chairman Dr Yayi called on member states to strengthen the bloc to transform it into a union of people, not just a union of states or governments.
President al-Bashir was indicted for alleged genocide in Darfur in 2009. Plans for an African criminal court picked pace with a final draft protocol drawn up on May 15 among a number of protocols expected to be adopted here. Before beginning deliberations, Summit honoured the memory of Algeria’s founding president Ben Bella, and Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika who passed on this year with a minute of silence.
The new leaders of Egypt, Lesotho and Senegal President Mohammed Mursi, Prime Minister Tom Thabane and President Macky Sall were all officially welcomed and took the floor to deliver their maiden speeches in which they paid tribute to the founding fathers and pledged to honour their memory in leadership.
Other delegates who addressed the opening session included the Emir of Kuwaiti Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah — who was the guest of honour — Dr Ping, the new UN under-secretary general Jan Elliason who cut his teeth in diplomacy by opening Sweden’s embassy in
Harare in 1980, the chairperson of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby, and a Palestine Liberation Organisation representative.
In their closed session, the leaders were expected to receive a report from the Peace and Security Council that convened on Saturday to deliberate on the conflicts in Mali, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, and eastern DRC.
The leaders were also set to consider recommendations of the Executive Council; a report on Nepad, and the report on Africa’s preparation for the Climate Change Negotiations at COP18.
Proposed reforms of the UN Security Council were also part of the agenda. And in line with the Summit theme, “Consolidation of intra-African trade”, Summit was set to consider a report of the High Level Committee of Heads of State and Government/Chairs of the Regional Economic Communities on boosting Intra-African Trade, among other things. The AU seeks to create a pan-African trade zone by 2017.