The African Union commission top seat is now open for competition, with South Africa preparing to unseat Dr Jean Ping. French-speaking Ping has been chairman of the AU commission since 2008 and his term in office will end this year.
The Gabonese former foreign minister has, however, turned to a defensive position to secure one more round, launching a massive campaign last week to get support for his second term in office despite South Africa’s preparation to challenge him.
African head of states are set to vote in a secret ballot to the highest position of the organisation at the end of January 2012 summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Gabon government provided an aircraft to support Dr Ping in his election campaign as he tours 10 African States to seek support from their heads of state.
Gabon’s AU Ambassador to the African Union Andre William Anguile on Monday expressed his government’s full support for Mr Ping’s re-election campaign. “We are sure ECOWAS region and other friendly countries support Dr Ping for his second term,” he said. “He has demonstrated major achievements during the last four years and we are confident about his reelection.”
But South Africa, one of the heavy champions of the pan African organisation, nominated its Home Minister and former Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for the chairmanship position.
According to analysts, Dr Ping has a support from most of west, eastern and central Africa regions while southern Africa and northern Africa have been pushing for a new AU chairman.
Non-African power, European Union hinted its support for South Africa while the French backed Jean Ping’s reelection. Jean Ping’s leadership has been criticised for failing to handle Libya and the Ivory Coast crisis.