"It is true that the media continues to indicate that the elections’ problems did not end. But us as Rwanda, we feel that, no matter what, the Heads of State of Africa cannot, again, for the second time, leave Addis Ababa without finding a remedy or getting a leader for the African Union. That is our view. And, the 54 Heads of State have the complete legal authority, in addition to a range of powers. If not legal, it is political, so as to be able to make a decision."
July summit "to decide AUC chair"
Kigali: The government of Rwanda is certain that the upcoming African Union summit will decide on who will head the African Union Commission (AUC), Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, said. The minister noted this while briefing lawmakers on regional and international issues.
The 19th AU summit is scheduled to take place from July 9 to 16 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “Boosting intra African trade.”
In January, during the 18th AU summit, the AU held an unsuccessful open election for the job of the continent’s top diplomat. Mushikiwabo said the previous elections – during the January Heads of State summit “faced challenges” and as the group of eight Heads of State established to find a way forward “did not find any solution.” She said this means the next meeting which will be in Addis Ababa, and not in Malawi, as earlier planned, will provide answers.
Mushikiwabo said: “It is true that the media continues to indicate that the elections’ problems did not end. But us as Rwanda, we feel that, no matter what, the Heads of State of Africa cannot, again, for the second time, leave Addis Ababa without finding a remedy or getting a leader for the African Union.”
“That is our view. And, the 54 Heads of State have the complete legal authority, in addition to a range of powers. If not legal, it is political, so as to be able to make a decision. It is clear that, no matter what, because of the very important tasks the Union has, and which can be hampered, the leaders will do whatever it takes so that this problem of leadership is solved.”
After three rounds of fierce contest in January, none of the two candidates – incumbent AUC chairperson Jean Ping and South African Home Affairs, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – managed to garner the necessary two-thirds of votes. At the time, the AUC suspended the vote.
Ping stayed ahead of Zuma in the three rounds of voting. The AU’s rule requires that the chairperson must get a majority of two thirds of votes from members with the right to vote, that is, member states that are not under sanction. If not, another round is automatically imposed.
Meanwhile, Minister Mushikiwabo also told MPs that she remains optimistic Kigali will host the AU summit in 2016, following government’s bid in January. Rwanda’s bid, as she noted, is set to be discussed during the July session.
“Our region, backed us so that our application to host the African Union summit can be put on the agenda and be discussed. We, thus, hope that come 2016, we will host the African Union summit in Kigali.”
Malawi had earlier been billed to host the July 2012 summit but it was moved to the Ethiopian capital. Malawi withdrew from hosting the summit due to the scheduled attendance of Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Early this month, Sudan requested the AU to move the meeting to its headquarters in Addis Ababa, after Malawi said Bashir would not be welcome. ICC member states, including Malawi, have a duty to arrest indictees. The summit will now be held at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.