Strong South African woman, Dlamini-Zuma elected AU Chair
The African Union (AU) has elected its first ever woman Chairman, former South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
At the 19th AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ms Dlamini-Zuma beat incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon, after a closely fought contest for the chairmanship of the continental body.
The newly elected AU Chairman, who is currently South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, is one of the veterans of the country’s anti Apartheid struggle.
Under the country’s first post Apartheid government of former President Nelson Mandela, Ms Dlamini-Zuma served as Foreign Minister and then under ex-President Thabo Mbeki, she was Health Minister.
Last January, neither she nor Jean Ping got the required two-thirds majority, leaving the outgoing AU Chairman in office for another six months.
Correspondents at the AU headquarters say the dispute has overshadowed other issues at the 19th summit, especially security and trade.
Reports say voting had been largely split with Anglophone countries tending to support Ms Dlamini-Zuma and Francophone countries backing Mr Ping.
Just ahead of the vote, Benin’s President Boni Yayi, the AU rotating Chairman warned of the consequences for the regional body’s profile if there was yet another inconclusive vote.
"Last January we failed. At this summit, we don't have the right to fail any more," Yayi told the summit on Sunday.Tweet