Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat elected new AU commission chair

Mahamat will replace South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who was elected to the post in 2012.

FILE: Moussa Faki Mahamat. Picture: AFP

ADDIS ABABA - The African Union has elected Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad as the new AU commission chairman.

Mahamat replaces South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who was elected to the post in 2012.

It took seven rounds of voting for African heads of state to finally settle on Mahamat as the new AU Commission chairperson.

Earlier, results had not been formally announced, but everyone at the AU headquarters knew the outcome seconds after the came out.

Mahamat got 38 votes in the seventh round of voting, which gave him the necessary two-thirds majority to take up the position.

He went head-to-head in a close race with the other favourite, Kenya’s foreign minister Amina Mohamed, in the last few rounds of voting.

Botswana foreign minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi was out in the first round of voting, as was Equatorial Guinea’s candidate.

Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily fell out in the next round.

RESULTS ANNOUNCED

The results of the hotly contested vote were finally announced on Monday afternoon.

Dlamini-Zuma, who was elected chairperson in 2012, is expected to return home in the coming months with the ANC Women’s League already pushing for her to take over from Jacob Zuma as president of the governing party.

There were shouts of jubilation in the corridors of the AU headquarters barely an hour after heads of state started the election in a closed session.

Mahamat succeeds Dlamini-Zuma, who is set to stay on in Addis for another three months for a formal handover.