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Crisis looms in AU over election as ECOWAS rejects candidates

Crisis looms in the Africa Union (AU) following the request by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to postpone its election of a chairperson slated for this weekend in Kigali, Rwanda due to an alleged insufficient 'good' candidates, reports ITRealms.

As at press time, there were about three candidates who filed in applications to replace the incumbent South African chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has confirmed she is not running for second term.

Sources close at the 27th African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, informed ITRealms that in what looks like battle for women to occupy the highest seat in African Union ruled by 53 men and one woman presidents, has candidates from Botswana, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda on the queue.

ITRealms gathered that Ugandan candidate is a woman and former vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, while her Botswana contender is Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is a serving Minister, whereas the candidate for Equatorial Guinea is yet to be confirmed at press time.

Equally ITRealms gathered that ECOWAS had raised objection based on insufficient candidates and has threatened to boycott the election.

ECOWAS is made up of 15- member states including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Gambia, Benin, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo, and if going by the rules of AUC election, there must be 2/3 majority for any election to be valid.

Incidentally, ECOWAS is chaired by the sole woman president on the continent, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

Reacting to the ECOWAS position, the Legal Counsel and Director for Legal Affairs of the African Union Commission, Prof. Vincent O. Nmehielle told newsmen that the elections of AUC president will proceed.

Nmehielle explained that there could be legal and statutory reasons for such request by ECOWAS, but the Rwandan foreign affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo also said her country will support election to hold despite ECOWWAS request.

Cameroon-based African Union analyst, Alex Djouka told ITRealms that while many observers think that the ECOWAS group has not drummed requisite support to call off the election or even refused to field a candidate, hence they are now trying to derail the process.

He explained that there was a schedule for the election and why ECOWAS is taking such a stand at this point.

Although he noted that ECOWAS may have the right, but if the situation persists, an interim mechanism could be activated in the AUC Statutes until the election of a new AUC chairperson

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