With just three days to go for African leaders to decide who will succeed African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, anything is possible.
There are an unprecedented five candidates and some frontrunners, but voting happens in elimination rounds.
All the positions in the commission are open and because regional considerations play an over-arching role, there will be a lot of horse-trading to ensure fair distribution in all these positions, right through to the top.
This is how things stood for the chairperson candidates on Friday morning:
Kenyan foreign minister Amina Mohamed
Kenya ran a very strong campaign for her across the continent, and being a leader on issues like calling for African countries to leave the International Criminal Court has won Kenya strong trust among like-minded countries.
Even though South Africa should officially support the candidate from southern Africa, unofficial talk is that President Jacob Zuma will vote for her when it matters.
Kenya’s Erastus Mwencha has served as deputy AU Commission chairperson for two terms, and many countries feel that Kenya has had its turn at the top of the AU for now.
Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily, former United Nations special envoy for Central Africa and former minister
Bathily is fluent in English and French and considered to be a pan-Africanist who can bridge the divide between Francophone and Anglophone Africa.
Many countries, especially in the Anglophone bloc, dislike Senegal’s support of Morocco to be readmitted to the AU – a very hot issue at this year’s summit.
Chad foreign minister and former prime minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat
Talk in Addis is that he’s one of the frontrunners for the position as a veteran statesman and diplomat and pan-Africanist.
If countries vote strictly according to regional alliances in the first round of voting, Equatorial Guinea’s Agapito Mba Mokuy could split the central African vote and he could face early elimination.
Botswana foreign minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi
Venson-Moitoi ran for the position during the AU’s Kigali summit in July but failed to get two-thirds of the vote. She might, however, emerge as a compromise candidate if the contest around the others turns out to be too fierce.
Botswana’s president Ian Khama does not attend AU summits, which has bred resentment among fellow African heads of state.
Equatorial Guinea foreign minister Agapito Mba Mokuy
Like Venson-Moitoi, he was a contender for the position at the Kigali summit and has had a lot more time to campaign.
Mokuy is considered the least likely candidate to get elected, because in Kigali he mustered even fewer votes than Venson-Moitoi.
The elections in Kigali were abandoned because none of the candidates was strong enough to muster two-thirds of the vote. – News24