AU chair contenders meet in historic debate in Addis Ababa

Five candidates competing to succeed the outgoing African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will today engage in a historic town hall debate to present their plans if elected to the continent’s topmost diplomatic post.

The debate is scheduled for 19:30 EAT (16:30 GMT) at the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, an AU statement released on Thursday confirmed.

This is the first of its kind in the Union’s history that a debate has been organized ahead of voting for the AUC Chair. Ordinarily, Heads of State vote to choose chairpersons during a summit.

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South African Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, agreed to stay on till January after leaders failed to elect her successor at a Kigali summit earlier this year. She turned down a second term after serving for a four-year stint.

The event will be streamed LIVE on some news channels, it will also be available online. The AU is asking people to send through questions to the candidates using #MjadalaAfrika hashtag.

The candidates include Botswana’s Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Chad’s Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, Equatorial Guinea’s Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily, UN special envoy for Central Africa.

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The new elections will be held during the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government from January 30 to 31 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moito, was the only contender who contested in the first vote. Agapito Mba Mokuy, Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea and former Ugandan vice-president Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe abandoned their aspirations.

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