Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: Tough Job Ahead

Published on 17th July 2012

We congratulate the African Union for breaking the six-month impasse over the continental body's top job by electing South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the new AU Commission head. Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's home affairs minister, beat the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, in a close election.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's rise to the top level of the continent's decision making body portends two things for Africa. First, Africa is embracing women leadership in line with the late Thomas Sankara's dream to see women empowered. Sankara's commitment to women's rights led him to appoint females to high governmental positions. Second, the continent is overcoming artificial divisive language constructs that have seen the continent disagree on important issues simply because they emerged from the Anglophone, Lusophone or Francophone divide.

Time is ripe for the AU Heads of State to desist from sideshows and hit the ground running. A wide menu of issues awaiting urgent attention faces the continent. They include:  strategizing on how to navigate safely through the changing geopolitical dispensation; how to benefit from the developed and emerging economies' interest in the continent's vast natural resource wealth; how to resolve the numerous conflict in DR Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Egypt and Mali, among others. Finally, Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma has a tough task ahead to make AU relevant to ordinary Africans.


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