(FinalCall.com) – Influential African states appear to fear a South African being seated as the chair of the African Union Commission. South Africa Home Affairs Minister and a former wife of the country’s president, Nkosazana Dlamina-Zuma, would be the first female to hold the top job at the AU.

Dlamina-Zuma’s credentials are undisputed. She not only is credited with pulling the Home Affairs Ministry out of “shambles,” reported South Africa’s Business Day, she is the former SA International Relations minister. In addition, her appointment had the backing of all the member states of the South African Development Community.

What other influential countries, including Nigeria and Kenya may fear, according to Allafrica.com, is a regional power like South Africa using the AU as a kind of bully pulpit. “Besides, there are growing perceptions by some African states that South Africa has projected itself as the voice of Africa. Further, Nigeria is certainly one of the countries who feel that South Africa’s aggressive campaign strategy (which included President Jacob Zuma lobbying for his ex-wife) for Dr. Dlamini-Zuma was unacceptable,” said AllAfrica.com.


During the January 2012 AU Summit, current chair Jean Ping of Gabon, who has served as AU commission chair since 2008 and Dr. Dlamini-Zuma failed to secure the required two-third majority support. An election that determines the chair will be held in July.

Ping seems to be the favorite to win, given the unwritten law that members of smaller African nations receive the chairmanship. Losing the election might be a blow to South Africa’s prestige. According to Allafrica.com, “under the leadership of Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki it seems the quest for … African renaissance were central to South Africa’s foreign policy.”

(Jehron Muhammad writes from Philadelphia and can be reached at [email protected].)