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Kenya supports Dlamini-Zuma's AU appointment

Kenya has thrown its weight behind new AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the 19th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union meeting held at the African Union new Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Kenya on Wednesday seemed to have done an about-turn and was now throwing its weight behind Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as newly elected chairperson of the African Union (AU) commission.

The former South African Home Affairs Minister won the highly contested position at the AU summit in Addis Ababa on the weekend, beating the incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon.

Kenya said the reason for its opposition to the candidature of Dlamini-Zuma was because it wanted to ensure the re-election of Kenya's Erastus Mwencha.

Before the AU election on Sunday, it was clear some countries had no intention of voting for South Africa.

Tom Wheeler of the South African Institute of International Affairs told Eyewitness News that South Africa did not have the support of key countries in Africa.

"I think there was resistance in some quarters and it was not necessarily the French West African countries that were involved, it was more Kenya and Nigeria."

But once Mwencha was elected to deputise Dlamini-Zuma, the hatchet was buried.

Kenya's High Commissioner to South Africa Tom Amolo said, "The strategy of Kenya was to push the agenda of its candidate."

Dlamini-Zuma is due to assume her position in a month's time.