• April 18, 2024
  • Last Update April 18, 2024 9:08 PM
  • Nairobi

Boost for Raila’s AU bid as commission drops gender parameter rule

Boost for Raila’s AU bid as commission drops gender parameter rule

Addis Ababa,

Friday, 15 March, 2024

McCreadie Andias

Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s bid for the African Union chairperson seat has received a major boost as the commision ministers dropped gender parameters of leadership from the position’s qualification criteria.

In a senior meeting held at the commision’s headquarters on Friday, 55 African foreign ministers unanimously endorsed that it is the turn of the Eastern Africa region to submit the AUC chairmanship bid without gender parity restrictions.

The ministers delegated to consider the report on the preparation for the election of senior leadership and among other issues, discuss the modalities of regional rotation and gender parity.

To ensure all five regions of the African Union have a fair chance of having leadership roles at the continental organization, the principle of inter-regional rotation is applied. Gender parity is equally applied in the election process. For instance, if the Chairperson is male then the Deputy Chairperson shall be a female and vice versa.

The discussions come in the backdrop of the speculations about gender balance shifts in the chairperson’s post.

AU now says that the elections will require that the candidates be competent women or men with proven experience in the relevant field, commensurate leadership qualities, and a good track record in government, parliament, international organizations or other relevant sectors of society.

The conclusions of the Ministerial meeting today will pave way for regions to embark on intra-regional consultations on procedures for nominating candidates for the portfolios for which they are eligible.

The senior leadership of the African Union is elected to serve for a term of four years, with the option for re-election for another four-year term.

These senior elective posts include the position of the African Union Commission Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, and the six Commissioners from a previous 8 which was amended in the 2018 Institutional reforms . Of the 6 commissioner positions, the posts are divided equally among male and female candidates.

Since the transition of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU) in 2002, there have been five (5) elections for members of the AU Commission.

The first Commission served from 2003 to 2008, and the current fifth Commission was elected in 2021 and is due to complete its term in 2025 where elections for a new chair will be held in February.

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