AFTER four rounds of voting, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s minister for home affairs, was elected on July 15th to run the commission of the African Union (AU), having eventually won the approval of 37 out of the AU’s 54 countries. The pan-African club will continue, as before, to be chaired ceremonially each year by a head of state, at present Yayi Boni of Benin, but for the next four years Ms Dlamini-Zuma will really run the show. South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), under President Jacob Zuma, her former husband, expressed delight.
Ms Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman and the first southern African to hold the post. She is a polished performer on the international stage. And her appointment ends a lame-duck period after the organisation failed earlier this year to pick a successor to Jean Ping, a Gabonese former foreign minister of part-Chinese descent who has run the AU since 2008.
An ANC stalwart, Ms Dlamini-Zuma, who is 63, has been a minister in South Africa since the advent of majority rule in 1994. Her record is free of scandal or corruption. As the first black health minister under Nelson Mandela, she was criticised for endorsing a “miracle” cure for HIV/AIDS and for purging the drug-control agency when it protested.
From 1999, as foreign minister for a decade, she won plaudits, proving adept at the sort of diplomatic wrangling that her new post will entail. As home-affairs minister since 2009, she is also widely said to have done a good job.
But her appointment to run the AU has been controversial in some African circles, especially among smaller countries and Francophone ones. It was an unwritten rule that no one from the five biggest contributors
Category: Africa News