DRC President Félix Tshisekedi has taken over the chairmanship of the African Union for a year. He will take over from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi, 58, is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January 25, 2019. Meanwhile, the leader of the United Democratic Party and Social Development (UDPS), the oldest and largest party in the DRC and inherited from his father who died. Tshisekedi was the UDPS party’s presidential candidate in the December 2018 general election and won the election, despite allegations of wrongdoing by several election observers and other opposition parties.
This elected position of Chairperson of the African Union is associated with special rights and political functions, and responsibilities to represent the Union and promote the objectives and principles of the African Union ‘. This is an opportunity for Tshisekedi, who can take advantage of the strategic importance of the African Union to increase its presence in many areas, and resolve political tensions within Congo as there have been political crises since he took office.
He broke his alliance with former President Joseph Kabila and is trying to create an administrative majority in parliament by winning over speaker and lower house speaker Jeanine Mabunda. Faced with these internal political challenges, Tshisekedi cannot devote the time and attention necessary to the position of AU chairperson which requires more time and broader political thinking. He will take office amid political tensions and potential conflicts in many parts of Africa such as disputes between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
Félix Antoine Tshisekedi takes over from his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, following the 34th African Union summit on Saturday. But Tshisekedi faces major challenges as this year’s coronavirus spreads to Africa while health and economic services is unbalanced here in Africa.
Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “As we hand over the baton to the President of the DRC, we are committed to continuing to work with President Tshisekedi to ensure that Africa becomes a cohesive, politically united continent. Pan-Africanism & the vision of reviving Africa.