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African Union Commission Elects First Female Head – South African Diplomat, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma



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

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at

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