African Union Delays Chairperson Vote as No Clear Winner Emerges

  • African leaders to vote at summit taking place in January
  • Botswana foreign affairs minister doesn’t get majority needed

African Union leaders extended Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s term as chairperson of the continental body by six months to give potential candidates for the position time to canvass for votes after she opted to step down.

“‘Black smoke billows’ from the 27th AU Summit as no winner emerges,” Jacob Enoh Eben, Dlamini-Zuma’s spokesman, said on his Twitter account, referring to the gathering of African leaders taking place in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Elections have been postponed until the next summit in January, he said.

Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Botswana’s foreign minister, got the most votes in polls at the summit but didn’t reach the requisite two-thirds majority, a Botswana government official said.

Former South African Home Affairs Minister Dlamini-Zuma didn’t seek re-election after one term in office at the AU’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The commission is tasked with diffusing the crisis in South Sudan as Africa’s youngest nation teeters on the brink of a return to full-scale civil war, with a tenuous peace deal failing to hold. Fierce clashes between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and those of Vice President Riek Machar in Juba, the capital, left 272 people dead last weekend.

African leaders agreed to a proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an East African bloc that’s pressing for implementation of the peace agreement, to revise the United Nation mission’s mandate in South Sudan, to one in which it can intervene and impose peace.

That would mean boosting the number of troops from regional countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia, to chaperon the South Sudanese government into implementing the peace deal, a key aim of which is integrating the country’s two armies.

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