African heads of states have gathered in Addis Ababa to elect a new chairperson for the African Union (AU) Commission. The outgoing leader and first female to lead the bloc, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is not seeking a second term in office after completing her four-year stint.
In preparing towards the election, security in Addis Ababa, the seat of the AU, has been scaled up as dignitaries and diplomats lobbying for the candidates descend on the city.
The candidates include Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed; a Senegalese diplomat and academic, Abdoulaye Bathily; Chad’s Foreign Minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat; Botswana’s Foreign Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi; and Mba Mokuy, a former political adviser from the ex-Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea.
The AU was supposed to pick a new leader July last year but the election was postponed following three rounds of voting after candidates failed to garner the required number of votes. A candidate needs to secure at least a two-third majority, 36 votes, to be declared winner.
The African leaders will also vote on whether to re-admit Morocco into the organisation.
Morocco, the only country on the continent that is not part of the AU, applied to re-join the bloc July last year.