Dr Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi, Botswana’s current Foreign Affairs Minister and a candidate for the Africa Union Commission (AUC) chairperson post, fancies her chances when the continent’s leaders eventually cast their votes in July.
She was speaking in an exclusive interview with Africanews’ correspondent, Thapelo Ndlovu in an interview that cut across her work as a politician and technocrat as well as touching on her views on women empowerment and her ideas on Pan-Africanism.
The 65-year-old Venson-Moitoi is also the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) endorsed candidate to replace the outgoing Chairperson, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who announced earlier this year that she would not be seeking re-election after her tenure expires.
Different views are sometime made to stimulate discussions. People should not get killed for stating a different view. Even the current chair of AU, HE Robert Mugabe encourages people to express different views.
Venson-Moitoi sees her aspiration as a key move to allow the SADC region to complete tenure started by Zuma. She lauds the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063, which she says is a document in need of implementation.
“The Agenda 2063 is very ambitious but it is the most ideal for the continent. It touches on the development of the people, inclusive democracy, rule of law and education and these are things that we believe in as Botswana,” adding that “I am an implementer of plans.”
On the subject of women empowerment, she praised the Africa Union’s efforts in the area, promising to take the work done further when she is elected in July, “There is already a programme that has been approved by the principals, a declaration for a decade of African women. We all know that the major problem for rural development throughout the continent is that women and children are the most affected by war and poverty.”
She insists that Africa is the a place to belong as Africans and that the Europe and Americas should just be places of visit, “Seeking this job is like looking for an opportunity to find more about ourselves and to say to the rest of us that it is fine to be home and to be proud of who we are. To say to our children that glamour, opportunity and prosperity is at home; we can find it all here in Africa. Europe and America are just places to visit.”
Touching on the subject that her native Botswana are seemingly snobbish in the continental posturing on certain matters especially with her as the chief diplomat, Venson-Moitoi counters such suggestions with a response that different views should not be seen as bad.
“Different views are sometime made to stimulate discussions. People should not get killed for stating a different view. Even the current chair of AU, HE Robert Mugabe encourages people to express different views,” she stated.
Venson-Moitoi sees herself as a serious competitor for the top continental post which she would be contesting with two contenders from Uganda and Equatorial Guinea.