Dlamini-Zuma to decide political future

African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is bent on keeping everybody guessing until the last minute over whether she would stay on in her position in Ethiopia – or come home to run for president.

When asked if she would put her name forward for a second four-year  term at the helm of the continental body when nominations close in March or April, Dlamini-Zuma told South African journalists at a briefing on Sunday night, following the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, to “just wait and see, there is time to decide”.

She also jokingly asked: “What do you want?”

Even though there is widespread speculation amongst AU staffers, diplomats and South African government officials that she wasn’t staying on, Dlamini-Zuma has remained mum about the issue.

One of her aides, however, told News24 that “we are now in the home stretch” when asked how things were going. This seems to be an indication that Dlamini-Zuma and her staff were preparing to wrap things up at the AU ahead of her term expiring in October.

The election for AU Commission chair is set to take place in June or July, during the mid-year summit.

There was fierce lobbying and competition between Anglophone and Francophone countries ahead of Dlamini-Zuma’s election to the position in 2012 and the voting was so close during the January summit that a second round of elections had to be held during the mid-year summit to decide.

There is a strong lobby group within the ANC that wants to see Dlamini-Zuma succeed her ex-husband, President Jacob Zuma, as the first female ANC president when the ANC holds its leadership elections in 2017. This means she could become South Africa’s first female president when general elections are held in 2019.

However, there is also a push from supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to have him step up to the position, as has been tradition in the ANC.


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Dlamini-Zuma to decide political future