Africa: Cabinet Endorses Motswana for AU Post

The southern African region's candidate for the position of chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, says uniting Africa and maximising its resources-rich potential to better the lives of its citizens will form the cornerstone of her agenda if she is elected.

Namibia yesterday announced it has, through Cabinet, endorsed Venson-Moitoi's candidature after South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma indicated she would not seek re-election.

Venson-Moitoi will within less than three months face other candidates at the AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda to compete for that post.

It is her firm conviction that when Africans walk with unity of purpose and direction they can achieve their desired objectives.

According to her, the key is to a make clear, conscious and focused start as well as get priorities right from the onset, while the ultimate objective is to change lives for the better.

She believes that Africa's potential is boundless and her story sees this potential cultivated and realised, a process she promises to drive as AU chairperson.

These remarks were contained in a variety of materials Venson-Moitoi, currently Botswana's foreign affairs minister, forwarded to New Era yesterday in response to queries about her candidature.

Also yesterday, Namibian ICT Minister Tjekero Tweya told journalists that Namibia will join the rest of SADC in endorsing Venson-Moitoi for the top continental job after Dlamini-Zuma indicated she would not stand for a second term.

Dlamini-Zuma's name has been mentioned as one of the possible candidates to be South Africa's next president.

The 65-year-old Venson-Moitoi, a former journalist, is furthermore of the opinion that achieving Africa's developmental vision of Agenda 2063 would require dedication and collective resolve to remain on track.

"It is my humble opinion and firm belief that the esteemed support of member states towards my candidature for the chairperson of our continental organisation will positively re-enforce ownership, commitment, attainment and implementation of the continental agenda," explained Venson-Moitoi.

Venson-Moitoi believes that it is important for the AU to rationalise the needs and aspirations of the continent.

"As the accountable official, I will ensure prudent management and utilization of the limited resources as contributed by member states and development partners."

There is a need, she noted, for a review of Africa's partnerships to chart the way forward on future collaboration with international partners.

She promised to popularize the AU's Agenda 2063 for deeper understanding and support to lead to a culture of ownership by African citizenry.

On peace and security, Venson-Moitoi says efforts to deliver sustainable long-term solutions to conflicts should continue to remain a priority.

She also noted that despite some successes in some areas, governance-related crises and conflicts are emerging as prominent features of Africa's political landscape.

It is her account that the pursuit of democratic processes in African countries is consistent with their history and will lead to the promotion of unity and diversity.

"We should spare no effort in seeking to achieve this, telling the story of a united Africa, comprising of diverse countries rich in heritage and culture."

She continued: "Now is the time for action and the requisite plans are in place to move us forward. They simply need to be seized and brought to fruition."

Venson-Moitoi is confident that she will bring to the AU chairpersonship the necessary skills, competencies and experiences to serve as a catalyst for change and help catapult Africa's transformation process.

"I am passionate about working to unleash her potential to become an effective and influential player in global affairs."

Venson-Moitoi took office as foreign affairs minister in 2014. She is married with two children. Her areas of specialty are public service management and administrative systems analysis and design.

She holds various qualifications and was awarded an honorary doctorate in social development based on a review of her work and writing on government and governance.

She started her career as a journalist for a private publication in 1970 until 1973 when she joined the ranks of the public service. Her service lasted for 20 years between 1973 and 1993 in which she held various positions, the last as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Lands and Housing.

Source: New Era