Government this week pledged to throw its weight behind Botswana’s candidate Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for the chairmanship of the AU during the upcoming elections scheduled to take place later this month.
Venson-Moitoi currently serves as SADC’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relations Selma Ashipala-Musavyi pledged Namibia’s support to Botswana’s candidate during a telephonic interview and said it will uphold a SADC agreement to support Venson-Moitoi.
The elections will take place during AU’s 28th Summit from January 22nd to 31st, 2017 in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
She said Namibia will support Venson-Moitoi as the candidate that is “endorsed” by Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of states.
“SADC has a candidate(Venson-Moitoi) who is the Foreign Affairs Minister of Botswana, that is the candidate that was endorsed by the summit of the SADC heads of states and Namibia being a SADC member state will support the mentioned candidate,” said Ashipala-Musavyi.
Other candidates competing for AU’s chairmanship include Chad’s foreign affairs minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, Equatorial Guinea’s foreign affairs minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, Kenya’s foreign minister Amina Mohamed and Senegal’s Bathily Abdoulaye who is the special UN envoy for Central Africa.
The elections for the AU Commission Chairperson took place in June last year but were postponed to January 2017 because none of the candidates who contested for the position then were able to garner sufficient votes.
At the time, the three candidates who contested for the position were Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Ugandan vice president, Venson-Moitoi and Mba Mokuy.
During the first round of the election no candidate was able to attain two thirds of the votes as Botswana candidate got 16 votes, Equatorial Guinea, 12 votes, and Uganda’s candidate got 11 votes.
The victorious candidate will replace South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who has been the AU Chairperson since 2012.
The outgoing Dlamini-Zuma did not reapply to contest for the AU Chairperson position and reports by South African media outlets has it that she is currently vying for the African National Congress (ANC) presidency.
According to reports, Dlamini-Zuma seeks to replace her former husband and current South African president Jacob Zuma at the end of the year.
However, City Press reported this week suggest that Dlamini-Zuma’s renewed close relationship with ‘the president’ (Jacob Zuma) could be a cause of conflict should she assume the highest office.
ANC is the ruling party in democratic South Africa.
Moussa Faki Mahamat
Mahamat is a Chadian politician and served as the country’s Prime Minister between 2003 and 2005. Mahamat is member of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement and belongs to the Zaghawa ethnic group, the same group as President Idriss Déby. He was President of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council from 2007 to 2008, and since April 2008 he has been Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mohamed is a Kenyan-Somali lawyer, diplomat and politician. She previously served as Chairwoman of the International Organization for Migration and the World Trade Organisation’s General Council, as well as Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. She is the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya.
Among her many accolades, Mohamed was recently honoured by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as one of the four UNDP Champions for the year 2016.
Mohamed has also chaired three most important bodies of the World Trade Organization; the Trade Policy Body, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Governing General Council of the WTO.
Agapito Mba Mokuy
Born in Agapito Mba Mokuy is the current Foreign Minister of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. He is acting in this position since 2012. Mr. Mba Mokuy is a well-known and respected diplomat who carries throughout his career the banner of pan-Africanism and the notion of an independent and prosperous Africa.
Abdoulaye is a Senegalese politician and diplomat. He is also the special United Nations envoy for Central Africa. His message during the campaign has been clear: “Africa must unite to overcome perennial problems of joblessness and poverty.”
In 2015, Abdoulaye presided over the Bangui National Forum, a national reconciliation conference organized by the transition government of the Central Africa Republic. The purpose of the Bangui forum was to bring together Central Africans from all regions and backgrounds to find lasting solutions to years of recurrent political instability in the country.
Pelonomi Venson – Moitoi’s biography
Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is the 8th Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana. She took office on the 31st October 2014. Born on the 13th May 1951 in Botswana, she is married with two children. Her areas of specialty lie in Public Service Management and Administrative Systems Analysisand design. She has a Diploma in Local Government from the Institute of Public Service in Connecticut, USA. She holds a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, USA. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in Social Development based on a review of her work and writing on government and governance.
Dr Venson – Moitoi started her career as a journalist for a private publication in 1970 until 1973 when she joined the ranks of the Public Service. Her service lasted for 20 years between 1973 and 1993 in which she held various positions, the last as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Lands and Housing.
Post Public Service, Dr Venson – Moitoi pursued other interests in the private Sector in line with areas of her specialization. Among others she took the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Kalahari Conservation Society from 1993 to 1994. She followed that with tenure as Head of the Institute for Local Government (INLOGOV) in Cape Town, South Africa from 1994 to 1998 and also carried out private Consultancy work in Local Government. During the same period she did short projects for UNDP in Zimbabwe and Gambia as well as GIZ in South Africa.
As a long time member of the Botswana Democratic Party, she served in various capacities within the party before she was elected as Specially Elected Member of Parliament in 1999. Her political career has seen her win subsequent elections and continually holding various Cabinet portfolios in Works, Transport and Communications, Trade and Industry, Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Science and Technology as well as Education and Skills Development.