African Union members states have converged on Addis Ababa to, among others, elect the new chairperson of the AU Commission as well as eight other commissioners.
The bloc will also deliberate the re-admission of Morocco.
It quit in 1984 to protest recognition and admission of the Sahrawi Republic to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the AU predecessor.
Rabat considers Sahrawi Republic part of its territory.
Here is how the programme of the meeting looks like:
Heads of state are expected to hold a closed-door meeting from 9am.
- Kagame Report
After the meeting, the union will adopt a report prepared by President Paul Kagame and his team on how to reform the AU and make it a little financialy independent.
Kagame report has suggested that AU members fund the organisation through a 0.2 per cent levy on imports.
Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad and Senegal say they have already set up escrow accounts to collect these money and remit it to the AU.
But the confusion is on which type of imports the levy applies.
Ideally, Kagame report implies that goods coming into Africa from elsewhere but this could upset existing trade agreements between individual African countries and the outside world.
The Kagame team was tasked to draw up proposals after it emerged the AU is reliant on donor funds.
Eighty per cent of its annual budget comes from EU, US, Turkey and China.
In fact the report points at the perennial delays or even defaulting on member fees by some poor states within the bloc.
This has made the AU largely lame-duck, unable to respond to crises around the continent in time.
- Photo Session
Thereafter, the leaders will emerge for a photo session.
- AU commission polls
Elections to start at 3pm.
Normally, elections can take an hour…if the winner emerges outright, by garnering two thirds of the votes.
Basically, each head of state and government or their verified reps has one vote.
They cast the ballot electronically by keying in special codes given to each eligible state (the AU may suspend a member from voting if its leadership comes to power via coup, refuses to quit after a defeat in elections or severely defaults on membership fee payment)
The leaders first vote for chairperson of the commission before voting for deputy.
Thereafter…they will endorse the commissioners as elected by foreign ministers.
For chairperson, the leaders have the first phase of three rounds.
Those coming last in the first two rounds drop off the race. Then, if no one gets two thirds…the vote goes on.
If it is apparent that none of them is getting two thirds…the AU postpones the election.
This is what happened in July in Kigali when Pelonomi Venson Moitoi of Botswana won the elections but couldn’t get two thirds.
Chairperson and deputy chairperson cannot come from the same region.
It means that the fate of candidates for deputy position is tied to those of chairperson.
Each region gets two commissioners each, except those which gets chair and deputy.
They will get one commissioner each.
The regions are East, South, Central, North and West.
There will be no white smoke though, despite the fact that the voting will entirely be in closed door session.
Either rumours or official communication will be useful this time.
©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation