A South African diplomat and doctor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected on Sunday to become the first female head of the African Union Commission, ending a bruising leadership battle that had threatened to divide the organization.
Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s home affairs minister and an ex-wife of President Jacob Zuma, defeated incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon, who had been at the helm of the Commission, the AU’s steering body, since 2008.
Dlamini-Zuma, a 63-year-old who has previously served as minister of health and foreign affairs, had to undergo three voting rounds before Ping, 69, was finally eliminated.
A final confidence vote of 37 in favour gave her the 60 percent majority she needed to be elected.
The contest to head the Commission of the 54-member AU had been deadlocked since last year. It pitted French-speaking states, largely backing Ping, against mostly English-speaking countries, especially in southern Africa, which gave their support to Dlamini-Zuma.
“It means a lot for Africa, for the continent, unity and the empowerment of women, very important,” South African President Jacob Zuma said in an interview after the vote. Dlamini-Zuma and Zuma divorced in 1998.
It’s great to hear of women holding such important positions as this. The African Union is one of the highest decision-making bodies in Africa and with a woman now at the helm of affairs, there would be greater expectations.
Congratulations, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
News Source: Reuters