Heads of States and Governments will today cast their vote for the next African Union chairperson with Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed battling out with four other candidates from the continent.
Fifty three countries except Morocco making up the Union are expected each cast a vote through their presidents, prime ministers or dully certified representatives in a second round of voting after the June 2016 process failed to produce a winner.
Morocco left the AU predecessor, the Organisation of African Union, OAU in 1984 but in September 2016, it officially submitted a request to accede to the AU Constitutive Act and become a member of the Union.
It is noteworthy that voting is not an express right for each state. Countries which are under sanctions because their heads came to power through coups or refuse to pay membership fees are not allowed to vote. The same applies to members who fail to abide by substantial decisions by the AU.
Botswana’s Foreign Affairs Pelonomi Venson Moitoi won the vote in last year’s election but failed to garner the requisite two thirds majority.
Dr. Moitoi will also be contesting today alongside Mousa Faki Mahamat from Chad, Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily and Agapito Mba Mokuy from Equatorial Guinea.
Kenya has intensively lobbied for Mohamed a career diplomat who was picked by President Uhuru Kenyatta as his foreign affairs minister after serving variously in the UN. Shortly before her appointment as Kenya’s top envoy, Mohamed was UNEP’s Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director.
The winning candidate will replace South African Dlamini Zuma. A candidate will need to get at least 11 votes in the first round to increases chances of a win. The voting can go to the second or third rounds.
If there is no clear winner in the third round, the poll is confined to the best two candidates who can also battle for three more round rounds to hit the two thirds majority mark.
In the event that no one gets a majority vote, the candidate with the least votes is forced to withdraw.
Also in today’s election will be that of the deputy chairpersons.
The candidates are Djibouti’s Interior Minister Yacin Elmi Bouh, Thomas Kwesi Quartey from Ghana, Claude Joachim Tiker from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Abdulhakim Rajab Elwaer of Libya.