Many of you might know that 2 days ago South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former apartheid freedom fighter, has been bidding for the top position at the African Union. After a controversial and protracted voting process she was elected and sworn in as the head of the AU Commission yesterday.
Dlamini-Zuma, who served in South Africa as the Ministers of Health, Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs for 3 consecutive presidents, succeeded Jean Ping of Gabon. She is the first woman to fill this position since the organisation was first formed as the Organisation of the African Union in 1961 and then reformed to be the African Union in 2002. She now has the task of directing the organisation in achieving its vision of being “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.” Although she has earned a reputation as a technocrat and minister who reformed South Africa’s ailing Home Affairs Department her campaign went against the very essence of the organisation: unity. Many have been annoyed by her tactics in securing votes and tension between Anglophone and francophone countries has been further complicated at a time when political and social unrest haunt Mali, Nigeria, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With Dlamini-Zuma’s experience and expertise, it is not all doom and gloom but before she can seek to fast track unity and peace on the continent she will need to focus her energies on building bridges and presenting herself as a humble servant of Africans.
We wish Madame Dlamini-Zuma all the best in her mandate as the AU Commissioner.
Never heard about the AU before? Don’t worry you’re not the only one! You can find out more at http://mg.co.za/article/2012-07-16-dummies-guide-to-the-african-union