Candidates fail to get required vote, AU chair polls suspended

Candidate Speciosa Wandira of Uganda with candidate Venson-Moitoi of Botswana and candidate Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea

Candidate Speciosa Wandira of Uganda with candidate Venson-Moitoi of Botswana and candidate Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea

African Union has suspended the election of the commission chairperson after the candidates failed to raise the required vote.

Voting for the new African Union chairperson got underway at the 27th summit held in Kigali Rwanda on Monday morning.

The candidates vying for the position include; former Uganda vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy.

Sarah Kagingo, the head of communications for Dr Wandira’s campaign team, says at the first round of voting, none of the candidates for AUC Chairperson has attained the required two-thirds of the vote.

Kazibwe got 10 votes, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of Botswana got 16 votes while Equatorial Guinea’s Agapito Mba Mokuy got 12 votes.

Uganda’s presidential press secretary Lindah Nabusayi said as such, the election was suspended.

There are reports that ECOWAS bloc of west African states is blackmailing the Union and refusing to vote, holding back 15 votes.

AU last evening dismissed rumours claiming ECOWAS was unhappy with the choice of candidates offered to succeed outgoing AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

AU legal counsel, Vincent O Nmehielle, told Voice of America ECOWAS does not determine whether AU commission elections are held.

Yet on the same day, ECOWAS tried to change the rules and introduce a late candidate.

They were overruled by the Chair and the Legal Counsel.

They then declared that they would not vote and deny everyone else 2/3 majority, according to sources.

AU rules say the winning candidate must obtain two thirds of member states’ votes.

Nmehielle explained that if no one wins this majority in the first round, the candidate with least votes will be knocked out and a second round held.

If a two-thirds majority is still not obtained, he said, the election will be suspended pending another vote and an interim chairperson appointed.

According to AU rules the commission chairperson and deputy chairperson are elected by heads of states or their representatives at the summit, while the eight commissioners are elected by member states’ foreign ministers.

The election has now been pushed to January 2017 and an interim chair will be picked to serve in that period.

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