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Rwanda edges Uganda in race for top African Union Commission job

Rwanda’s Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa. 📷 @ApollosDoreen

📌 February 6 -7, 2021 – 34th AU SUMMIT & AUC elections

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | THE INDEPENDENT | Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the deputy governor of the national bank of Rwanda, has been elected Vice Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Nsanzabaganwa,50, got 42 votes in the final round of voting today from the 55 member states. She edged out seven other contestants for the job, including Uganda’s Prof. Pamela Kasabiiti Mbabazi.

The African Union (AU) 34th summit, a first held virtually, started today. DRC’s Felix Antoine Tshisekedi took over as chairperson, and that was followed by elections of the AU Commission (AUC).

The official opening of the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held via video conferencing, was addressed by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union (AU), AUC chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and Incoming AU Chairperson Tshisekedi.

The Assembly will deliberate and adopt a report on the Institutional Reform of the AU, a report on the progress on the African Union response on
COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. The theme of the 34th assembly is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

Who is Prof. Pamela Kasabiiti Mbabazi?

Prof. Mbabazi,51, is the Chairperson of the National Planning Authority of Uganda. She was the only candidate from Uganda contesting that were run using a new format designed to be sensitive to gender and equal regional representation.


Prof. Mbabazi

Mbabazi contested against three men and four women. The women were Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa from Rwanda who is the deputy governor of the national bank of Rwanda, Hasna Barkat Daoud, a Djiboutian lawyer and former government minister; Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, a  Ghanian diplomat; and Fatoumata C.M. JallowTambajang, the former vice president of the Gambia.

This is the first AUC election since the AU’s reform process started in 2017 under the guidance of Rwanda President Paul Kagame’s executive.

The new structure of the AUC is to be composed of eight members. They are the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and six Commissioners.


The former eight Commissioners have been reduced to six, with the merger of the roles of Commissioner for Peace and Security with Political Affairs, and of Commissioner for Economic Development with Trade and Industry. The new rules stipulate that the six commissioner posts will be equally distributed by gender across the three regions that are not represented at Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson level.

Chairman Faki Moussa was re-lected unopposed for a second four-year term. Faki garnered 51 votes as 3 states abstained (54 out of 55 member states voted through electronic secret ballot).

The new structure of the AU Commission. đź“· @issafrica

The last Ugandan to attempt to contest at the AU was former Vice President Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe was in 2017.

Faki Moussa Mahamat won the final vote then, several rounds after Dr Kazibwe had fallen out of the race.


Chairs of the assembly of the African Union

Feb 2020 to Feb 2021 – Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa
Feb 2019 to Feb 2020 – Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt
Jan 2018 to Feb 2019 – Paul Kagame, Rwanda
Jan 2017 to Jan 2018 – Alpha Conde, Guinea
Jan 2016 to Jan 2017 – Idriss DĂ©by, Chad
Jan 2015 to Jan 2016 – Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
Jan 2014 to Jan 2015 – Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritania
Jan 2013 to Jan 2014 – Hailemariam Dessalegn, Ethiopia
Jan 2012 to Jan 2013 – Thomas Yayi Boni, Benin
Jan 2011 to Jan 2012 – Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea
Jan 2010 to Jan 2011 – Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi
Feb 2009 to Jan 2010 – Muammar Gaddafi, Libya
Jan 2008 to Jan 2009 – Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, UR of Tanzania
Jan 2007 to Jan 2008 – John Kufuor, Ghana
Jan 2006 to Jan 2007 – DĂ©nis Sassou N’Guesso, Congo
July 2004 to Dec 2005 – Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria
July 2003 to July 2004 – Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Mozambique
July 2002 to July 2003 – Thabo Mbeki, South Africa

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