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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inside Africa: African Union Summit to tackle Chairmanship Stalemate

The African Union is holding a summit in Addis Ababa expected to focus on another bid to resolve a deadlock over its secretariat.

Current AU commission chairman Jean Ping of Gabon (l) and his opponent in elections to the post, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa (r) (combined file photo). 
Mr. Ping (left) and Ms. Dlamini-Zuma (right)

Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa and the incumbent, Mr. Jean Ping of Gabon, are to contest the election for the post of Chairman of the AU Commission.

In January, neither got the required two-thirds majority, leaving Mr Ping in office for another six months.

The dispute has overshadowed other issues, especially security and trade.
It has broadly split the organisation along linguistic lines, with English-speaking countries tending to support Ms Dlamini Zuma and French-speaking countries lining up behind Mr Ping.

If the election fails again, Mr Ping could be asked to stay until the next summit next January.

Ms Dlamini Zuma is the former wife of South African President Jacob Zuma and one of her country's longest-serving government ministers.

Analysts say many feel her candidacy has broken an unwritten tradition that the chairmanship should not be occupied by one of Africa's major nations.

Earlier this week, Mr Ping denied a South African media report speculating he was going to withdraw from the race.

His use of the AU's website and letterhead for his statement prompted the Southern African regional bloc SADC to accuse him of misusing AU resources for his re-election bid.
As in January, the official theme of the summit is boosting intra-African trade.

It is also due to focus on the continuing instability in Mali, mounting violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and tension between Sudan and South Sudan.

To read Mr. Ping's statement click here (

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