JOHANNESBURG, S. Africa:July 4 (Xinhua) — The 12-member countries of Southern African Development Community (SADC) have rallied behind South Africa to have a woman chair the African Union (AU), a South African minister said.
The AU had not had a woman leader in its 49 years, in spite of its 2010 declaration of the African Women’s Decade, South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane said on Tuesday at the opening of the SADC Double Troika meeting in Pretoria.
The Double Troika groups the regional international relations ministers from South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania. The Zimbabwean foreign minister also attended the meeting as an invited guest.
South Africa has fielded its female Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to vie for the top post of AU in a contest seen as a face-off between Francophone countries and the rest of the continent. Nkoana-Mashabane said the SADC believed that in keeping with the rotational principle, all regions should be given an opportunity to lead the AU Commission.
The southern and the northern regions have not had an opportunity to lead the AU at the level of chairperson since the formation of the Organisation of African Union (OAU), said Nkoana-Mashabane.
The OAU is the predecessor of AU. In January, African leaders shelved the election of the chairperson of the commission until July after both Dlamini Zuma and the incumbent Jean Ping failed to secure the two thirds majority needed to lead the organ. (Xinhua)