Zim in race for AU Commissioners posts

Zimbabwe has applied for two African Union Commissioners posts which will be filled at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this month-end.

The AU Commission chair position and the deputy chair as well as the eight commissioners posts will be up for grabs at the 18th AU ordinary session.

Commissioners and members of the Peace and Security Council will also be elected during the summit. Zimbabweans Hesphina Rukato and Rudo Mabel Chitiga have applied for the AU Commissioners Political Affairs and Social Affairs respectively.

The two join South African Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has the backing of the 15-member Sadc bloc and will battle it out with current chair Jean Ping of Gabon, who has the support of Central Africa and other French-speaking nations.

The three are highly qualified and experienced and also have the gender balance advantage. If Dlamini-Zuma, Rukato and Chitiga are successful, Sadc will have a strong representation at the AU.

Rukato has a doctorate in Environmental Management Standards and Environmental Policy and Planning, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Politics and Administration.

She has vast experience and has country experiences in Zimbabwe, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana Ethiopia and Ghana.

She is currently employed by the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), University of Addis Ababa, as a Senior Advisor, High-Level Networking and Advocacy.

She has also worked for German International Cooperation (GIZ), where she was seconded to the AU Office of the Deputy Chairperson, as an advisor on the second Strategic Partnership Dialogue (SPD).

The Commission is the Secretariat of the Union entrusted with executive functions. It is composed of 10 officials: a chairperson, a deputy chairperson; eight commissioners and staff members.

The AU Commission is made up of the Peace and Security Council; Political Affairs; Trade and Industry; Infrastructure and Energy; Social Affairs; Rural Economy and Agriculture; Human Resources, Science and Technology as well as the Economic Affairs portfolios.

Chitiga also has more than 30 years experience working in senior management and leadership roles in government, civil society and inter-government organisations.

She has country experiences in Botswana, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, Gambia, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Burundi, Cote d Ivoire and Zimbabwe.

Yesterday, the AU said: Given that the current bureau of the AU Commission is coming to the end of its four-year mandate in 2012, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union at the their 18th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will elect the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and that of the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission.

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