Emergence Of Kikwete As AU Chair Candidate Dooms Uganda's Kazibwe and Others

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Africans are cheering as a candidate with stature has emerged to take up the post of Chairperson of the African Union Commission.  He is the former President of the Republic of Tanzania, former President Jakaya Kikwete, who recently made known his desire to become the next Chairperson of the African Union Commission. 
There are people who are saying that this announcement is quite late in the game, as African leaders at the ongoing Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, will begin voting tomorrow for a replacement of the current Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. 
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma shockingly announced that she would not be running for a second term. This news left a very limited window of opportunity for countries to submit meaningful candidates into the ring.
However, three countries including Botswana, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda, submitted their candidates. Equatorial Guinea is represented by its foreign minister, Mr. Agapito Mba Mokuy; Uganda has former Vice President, Dr. Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe; while Botswana is represented also by its foreign minister, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
While I spoke favorably about Dr. Moitoi, who is staunchly supported by the South African government, sources from the African Union noted that the African Union would not reward Botswana with the highest office in the African Union, as its president has never made an attempt to attend any African Union Summits. 
Also, African leaders have started asking themselves what message they would be sending to the world, if they were to reward Equatorial Guinea or Uganda with the post of chairperson of the African Union Commission. The Union would be making a laughing-stock of itself. The world will see it as justifying autocratic dictatorships, represented by President Yoweri Museveni and Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
Obiang is the longest serving President in Africa of 36 years, and Museveni has stayed in office for 30 years, recently holding another sham election.
As I stated in my last “Letter to Africa,” “Totalitarian dictators must not be rewarded with the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission. The time for such shameful action is past. Africa needs to turn a new leaf. We don’t need the august body to be tainted with the excreta of leaders who believe they are above the law, who hold sham elections while jailing their opponents. To effectively carry out Agenda 2063, the African Union needs a leader with clean hands. To allow the two candidates from Equatorial Guinea and Uganda to contest will be a disgrace to the continent, in which case a new deadline for submission of candidacies should be extended.”
It would appear that former President Kikwete has heard the cry of Africans for stronger leadership of the African Union Commission, by throwing his hat into the race. I know it is also late. But sources at the African Union said most of the leaders were not satisfied with the candidates running for the office. 
The scenario is this: the election will go forward. A candidate needs two-thirds of the 53 voting members of the Union, excluding Morocco, which is trying to sneak back into the Union. None of the three candidates will get the two-thirds vote to become Chairperson. The election will be postponed till the next meeting of the African Union, which will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January, 2017.
This will open the door for new candidates to be nominated or to be drafted by acclamation. 
Africans are hoping that former President Kikwete will be drafted by acclamation. President Kikwete served his country for 10 years of two terms and participated actively in the selection of his successor President John Magufuli, thereby continuing the tradition of democratic governance in Tanzania, in contrast to some of the neighboring countries where Presidents have abrogated the constitution to further their political ambitions. 
President Kikwete has received many honors for excellence and so many honorary doctorates by many universities.  Africa would continue to need him for the peace negotiations he achieved not only during his presidency, but as well as when he was Tanzania’s foreign minister for 10 years.
We know why Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is leaving. Africa needs a strong leader to replace her, especially a leader who could play the same role as the first chairperson of the Commission, former President Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali.  Africa needs Jakaya Kikwete.


Dr. Onyeani is Publisher of The African Sun Times


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