Dr Nkosozana Diamini-Zuma
The Pan African Business Forum (PBAF) has appealed to members of the African Union to massively vote for Dr Nkosozana Diamini-Zuma, former wife of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to become the Chairman of the Union in next month’s elections.
The forum, made up of over 350 business and professionals, said the AU needs a member who is not only respected in his or home country but across the region.
The upcoming elections slated next month in Malawi would be a re-run of inconclusive elections for an AU chairman held in January this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The election pitted Dr Diamini-Zuma, South African Home Affairs Minister against the incumbent Jean Ping, a former Gabonese Foreign Minister, in which neither candidate was able to garner the required two-thirds majority, votes to be elected as chairman of the AU Commission by member states for a five-year period.
The same candidates would therefore contest against each other again during next month’s election.
At a press conference in Accra on Monday, to canvass for support for Dr Diamini-Zuma, Mr Prince Prosper Ladislas Agbesi, President of PABF said the continent AU needed a chairman who could serve as an effective mediator and consensus builder among member states.
He added the Union further needs a person who would be able to “cut through the many vested interest and point the continent in the right direction when making decisions on issues affecting the continent.”
Mr Agbesi said the election of Dr Diamini-Zuma, South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister would give the continent new impetus for economic development and an important player in the world politics.
“Dr Diamini-Zuma is the best candidate for the job of AU Commission Chairman, and that is why she has been nominated for it by the South African government,” he stated.
According to Mr. Agbesi, since the inception of the AU in 2002, no woman had been elected as the Commissioner of the union and thus, it was time for a change to bring about the needed investment and development in the African continent.
He said Dr. Diamini-Zuma’s track record of accomplishment, her reputation as a team player, and her willingness to stand up for what was right, made her the best candidate for the job.
He was optimistic that Dr. Diamini-Zuma would work assiduously to make the AU Commission more efficient and effective as an institution when elected into office.
“It has been estimated that the AU is understaffed by about 324 positions, or about 48 per cent. Many departments are also massively underpaid with an average budget utilisation of 37 percent.
Dr Diamini-Zuma, by combining her skills and talents as both a politician and technocrat, would greatly improve on this dire situation,” he stressed.