Malawi says Dlamini-Zuma’s victory shows SADC’s solidarity

Vice President Khumbo Kachali said on Monday the election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the post of African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson demonstrated SADC’s unity.

Kachali, asked for Malawi’s reaction as one of the countries that backed the South African Home Affairs Minister, said Dlamini-Zuma’s victory demonstrated that there was solidarity within SADC.

He said SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries did all they could, having lobbied at Ministerial and higher levels to ensure Dlamin-Zuma emerged victor.

Dlamini-Zuma beat Gabon’s Jean Ping in all rounds of voting, to become the first woman to lead the  organization. Analysts say it was a battle between the continent’s French and English-speaking blocks.

In coming chairperson of the African Union Commission Dlamini Zuma of South Africa gives her reaction to the media on the outc

The vote took place on Sunday at the start of the two-day 19th Ordinary session of the AU Heads of State and Government Summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The election for the AU Commission’s head was the major talking point during the summit as both failed to get the required two thirds of the vote in January, enabling Ping to hold the post on a temporal basis.

“When we went for voting, she kept leading up to the last round,” Kachali said. “We believe she will ably perform her duties. This is manifestation of the region’s commitment to promoting gender equality.”

After hours of waiting anxiously, it was not until around midnight that word came out Dlamini-Zuma had won the election. The result pleased delegates and journalists from the SADC region.

“Zambia set the pace,” said one Zambian journalist, referring to Zambia’s victory over Ivory Coast during the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations tournament to win the trophy for the first time.

“We started it. We got the [Nations cup] and now South Africa has grabbed the AU Commission chairmanship from a West African. Everything seems to be heading south,” he said in jest.

AU chairman, Benin President Yayi Boni told reporters the completion of the election was a good thing as it would unify the continent. He earlier warned that AU’s indecision threatened to dent its image.

Also speaking when he came out of the election hall, South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma expressed happiness with the vote’s result. He commended the AU for entrusting the position to South Africa.

Asked for his reaction, Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni described Dlamini-Zuma as a freedom fighter.

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