SADC meets to dispel election rumour

Member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an emergency meeting in Addis Ababa on Sunday morning, immediately before the opening of the African Union (AU) summit, to dispel rumours that SADC candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was withdrawing from the election for chairperson of the AU Commission.

Tomas Salomao
Tomas Salomao

SADC Executive Secretary Tomas Salomao told the Mozambican journalists covering the summit that a rumour had been spread that South Africa was proposing to the rest of SADC to withdraw the name of Dlamini-Zuma (who is currently South African Home Affairs Minister).

The SADC meeting was called, Salomao said, to make it very clear that this rumour was entirely baseless. “Our candidate is a strong candidate and she has a good programme”, he added.

He thought that such rumours were a normal part of electioneering. They were spread “in order to cast doubt, and to affect the most hesitant countries”. It was up to SADC members to find out who the hesitant AU countries are and lobby them for the SADC candidate.

“Interests in the continent and outside of the continent”, were in play in this election, said Salomao. He did not name those extra-continental interests – but other AU sources have told AIM that one of them is France. The French ambassador to Ethiopia has allegedly been lobbying heavily on behalf of the incumbent Commission chairperson, Jean Ping.

It is thought that Dlamini-Zuma has secured promises of votes from 35 AU member states. The winning candidate must secure two thirds of the votes. There are 54 member states – one of whom, Madagascar, is suspended following the 2009 coup d’etat. So 53 states have the right to vote – and two thirds of 53 is 35.3. That will be rounded up to 36.

If no candidate has the two thirds majority needed, further rounds of voting must be held.

Post published in: Africa News

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