Durban, South Africa (PANA) - The South African Development Community (SADC) has endorsed South African Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the region’s sole candidate for the post of AU Commission Chairperson ahead of the elections in June, the South African foreign ministry said in a statement.
The political and diplomatic Committee of SADC, whose members met in Durban, South Africa on Sunday, endorsed the former South African foreign minister, currently the country’s interior minister to run for the post.
SADC Chairman and Angolan President Edwardo Do Santos will represent the region in the Committee of Eight heads of State, tasked during the 18th AU Assembly of Heads of State meeting, to streamline the election rules after they ended in a deadlock.
“The Extra-Ordinary Inter State Politics and Diplomacy Committee met in Cape Town and considered the outcomes of the AU Commission elections and the Political developments in Madagascar,” according to the statement.
The Committee called on the Committee of Eight Heads of State to meet urgently to address the issues related to the next election of the Commission members.
Dlamini-Zuma will face the incumbent, Jean Ping, former Foreign Minister of Gabon, who failed to win re-election during the fourth-round in which he ran alone, winning 32 votes, falling short of the 36 votes he required to retain the post.
During the elections in Addis Ababa, Ping garnered 28-25 against Dlamini-Zuma in the first round, 27-26 in the second round and 29-24 in the third round, at which point, Dlamini-Zuma, was forced to drop out of the race.
However, Ping failed to win with almost 21 votes returned blank and falling short of the absolute majority of two-thirds required to win the seat.
The African leaders were forced to suspend the polls and extended the term of the Commission and its members for six months until June, 2012, when new elections will be held in Malawi, during the 19th session of the AU Summit.
PANA had reported of a plot to have the polls postponed ahead of the January election in Addis Ababa as South Africa lobbied for the drawing of new rules before the elections in Malawi.
“It is unlikely that the rules of procedure would be amended. You cannot amend the rules in the middle of the game. There is no proposal for such an amendment,” an AU official said a day before the elections in Addis Ababa..
The rules governing election of AU officials remain contestable since the organisation’s launch in Durban.
Efforts to give the Commission’s Chairperson absolute authority to determine the election of the officials have often ended in deadlock or outright dismissal.
Ben Kioko, AU’s top Legal Counsel, whose role is to oversee elections, says proposals on how to elect the eight Commissioners of the organization have been on the table for years.
“SADC remains committed to the threshold of two thirds majority for the election of the members of the Commission in accordance with rule 42 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly,” the SA statement said.
There have been proposals to have the AU Commission Chairperson to appoint the Commissioners, which have been rejected outright, Kioko said.
“There have been proposals for the states to elect a pool, then the Chairperson selects from the pool, these were not accepted but they were made as proposals by a Panel selected to Audit the AU procedures,” Kioko said.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 13Feb2012