Former Ugandan Vice President, Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe has pulled out of the race for the African Union (AU) top job.
Although she was still eligible to contest for the coveted AU chairperson post, Uganda has decided not to front a candidate after a series of meetings, where top diplomats and President Yoweri Museveni agreed that the competition ground on the continent is not favourable for the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
Ambassador James Mugume, the permanent secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed the position of Uganda regarding the AU chairperson bid, saying that Uganda will support other Eastern region candidates, once the region harmonizes its position.
“We have decided not to front our candidate again. This decision was reached after discussions with our previous candidate, the President and other diplomats in the country,” Mugume said, emphasizing that Kazibwe will remain a member of the AU panel of the wise, which is comprised of a group of senior leaders on the continent.
Kenya’s foreign affairs minister, Amina Mohammed, has been nominated for the AU chair seat.
The search for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s replacement resumed in July after leaders at the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda failed to select a new chairperson for the continent’s top job.
In the race were East Africa candidate Kazibwe, Botswana’s foreign affairs minister Dr Pelomoni Venson-Moitoi, who was backed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Equatorial Guinea’s foreign affairs minister, Agapito Mba Mokuy, the Central African candidate.
The elections are slated for January 2017 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the headquarters of the African Union.