Venson Moitoi for African Union top post
• Minister not admitted in South African hospital- PS
Botswana’s minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has not been taken in sick at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In fact the minister had gone to Jo’burg for routine checkup, according to permanent secretary at the ministry Gaoimelwe Goitsemang. News of Venson’s ill health coincided with an announcement that the Southern African region has endorsed her as their consensus candidate for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC).
The decision was taken at a meeting of ten Southern African ministers of foreign affairs in Gaborone on 23 March 2016. Venson-Moitoi is expected to battle for the position with candidates from other regions of Africa whose names are not yet known at an extraordinary summit of the African Union set for June in Kigali, Rwanda.
The winner will replace the incumbent – South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who is said to be positioning herself to contest for her country’s presidential elections. Dlamini Zuma is currently based at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Goitsemang explained that the next step is for Botswana to mount a campaign to solicit support for Vension Moitoi and for the minister to outline her strategy. The ten ministers of foreign affairs did not include those from Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania, who although are members of the regional economic bloc- SADC- do not fall within the political delineation of (south) as determined by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) – the AU’s predecessor at its founding meeting in 1963.
Africa is divided into five regions- central, east, north, south and west. According to a diplomatic source, the overlapping membership of members to regional economic blocs could also work in favour of candidates running for positions at supranational organisations like the AU, ACP and even at the United Nations level.
As for Venson Moitoi’s health, Goitsemang assured that the minister was well and fine and will be back this weekend. She is expected at her desk on Monday.
See full story on next week’s edition of the Botswana Guardian