POLITICS

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Leaves Addis Ababa This Week But ANC Wants Her AU Legacy To Live On

"New alignments" on the continent causes the ANC to fear a slip back into colonialism.

13/03/2017 09:39 SAST | Updated 13/03/2017 11:16 SAST
Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

As Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma prepares to hand over the reigns as African Union Commission chairperson to her successor Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad, the ANC is making efforts to ensure that her legacy there will be remembered.

Dlamini-Zuma and Mahamat have been in meetings since last week to discuss the handover, and over the weekend there was a final farewell dinner for her in the Sheraton, Addis Ababa's top hotel.

Mahamat will be sworn in on Tuesday.

In the ANC's discussion document on international relations, formally released over the weekend, the party praised South Africa for its courage to "put forward one of its seasoned leaders to lead the AU Commission must be commended".

The document praises her for making systems more efficient at the AU: "The work done on making the Commission more efficient, improving internal systems, (making it) less reliant on donors, particularly consultants, is the basis for the African Union to be a lot more successful in its endeavours."

But the party says it is not enough that African governments came together, but people should unite too. It said it supported the message of Agenda 2063, the AU's 50-year plan introduced by Dlamini-Zuma, "with its promotion of an Africa with strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics." It said the plan compelled the continent to "strive towards Africa being a strong, united and influential global player and partner".

The document further reads: "In this regard the ANC calls on all stakeholders and governments to preserve and consolidate achievements recorded during the chairship of Dr Dlamini Zuma and ensure that we pursue the AU's long-term vision of Agenda 2063."

The ANC said Mahamat must be supported "while defending the advances made in the implementation of the Agenda 2063 programmes".

The party says there is a "realignment" taking place on the continent "with serious implications for the future of the African Agenda. In this regard it is imperative that we build, cultivate and revive the historic and strategic alliances with progressive parties on the continent to preserve this agenda.

"Thus, if left unchecked the current realignment would create subjective conditions for the return of neo-colonial and neo-patrimonial political and economic relations in the continent."

Dlamini-Zuma was sent to the AU in 2012 and after the first bruising round of elections failed in January, she was elected at the next round six months later. The elections pitted Anglophone and Francophone countries against each other in the continent.

Some of Dlamini-Zuma's harshest criticism as AU Commission chairperson came from the French-speaking countries. Some in the ANC and government now believe the election of her successor, who is from a Francophone country, as well as Morocco's readmission to the AU in January in spite of the warnings from especially southern Africa about colonialism, mean that France now has a strong neocolonial grip on the continent.

Despite South Africa's intense disappointment, the ANC sees the readmission of Morocco as an opportunity. The country left the Organisation of African Unity in 1984 in protest against the membership of Western Sahara, which has been locked in controversy with Morocco to be granted independence.

in its discussion document says Morocco's readmission to the AU "shall usher in a new era in recognition of the inherent status of Western Sahara within the AU".

It says: "We must work within the collective of the AU to resolve this long-standing and potentially divisive matter. The ANC undertakes to intensify mobilisation of continental and international revolutionary forces to preserve Western Sahara's status in the AU. In this connection we remain resolute in our support for the people of Western Saharas's quest for self-determination."

The ANC also wants to see African states unite in the United Nations and to take in a "single position that is not just adhered but visibly supported" by all AU member states.