Chissano denies he is a candidate for AU Commission

Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has categorically denied reports in the Portuguese media that he has been asked to stand for the post of chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Joaquim Chissano
Joaquim Chissano

At the AU summit in Addis Ababa in late January the members of SADC (Southern African Development Community) made a determined effort to unseat the incumbent chairperson, Jean Ping of Gabon. The SADC candidate, South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, did not win – but she deprived Ping of the two thirds majority he needed for re-election.

Even on a fourth round of voting, when the only name on the ballot paper was Ping’s, he could not persuade two thirds of the AU member states to vote for him. As a result new elections will be held at the next summit in Malawi in June or July.

Rumours are now circulating that Chissano could be the SADC candidate for Commission chairperson. On Tuesday, during commemorations of the 15th anniversary of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), the Africa programme of Portuguese state radio (RDP/Africa), floated this possibility.

But when AIM spoke to Chissano in Lisbon he denied any interest in standing for the job. The AU and SADC “both know that I do not want any public post in any international organisation. I can give ad-hoc support every so often, but I will not take up any position”.

He insisted that, even if SADC did ask him to be its candidate for AU Commission chair, he would decline the offer. “I am not going to accept any job of this size”, he said.

As for the CPLP’s 15th anniversary, and prospects for the future, Chissano said it was generally felt that the organisation’s performance had been “positive”.

“There’s greater convergence of ideas and opinions than in the past”, he said. “It was found that we don’t know each other enough. We have to continue working for mutual knowledge, particularly in the cultural sphere, but we’re already learning to like each other’s cultures”.

Chissano added that “the history and culture of our countries should be part of the official curricula in our schools”.

He noted that economic relations between CPLP members are increasing, and members of the community could support each other mutually, because they possess diversified resources.

During a colloquium held to mark the anniversary, Chissano cited Brazil’s growing involvement in Mozambique, notably in financing a pharmaceutical plant that will produce the anti-retroviral drugs that prolong the lives of HIV-positive people.

Chissano stressed that Brazil, as a member of the group of countries known as the G-20, could give a new impulse to the CPLP – particularly now that its economy has become the sixth largest in the world, overtaking that of Britain.

Post published in: Africa News

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