Zimbabwean eyes AfDB’s presidency

Zimbabwe’s Thomas Zondo Sakhala, former African Development Bank (AfDB) operations vice-president, is in the country drumming up support to land the pan-African bank’s top job to be contested by at least eight other  candidates.

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Thomas Zondo Sakhala,

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This follows the expiry of Donald Kaberuka, the outgoing president of the bank’s tenure. Elections to replace him are set for Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 25 to 29 May.

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Sakhala, who has been with the African top lender for 31 years, is the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc)’s candidate to take over the bank’s presidency.

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Sadc holds 15% of the share capital of the bank.

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Addressing journalists yesterday after a courtesy call on acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday, Sakhala said Sadc stands to benefit more from his appointment.

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“I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Zimbabwe for the support and trust the country has shown in me. Southern Africa needs greater investments in power, water, modern means of communication, as well as greater need to open up opportunities to every citizen so that they realise their full potential,” Sakhala said.

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Other countries with candidates vying for AfDB’s presidency include Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Mali, Siera Leone, Tunisai, Ethiopia, and Chad.

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Finance Economic minister Patrick Chinamasa who attended the same event praised Sakahala.

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“Our advantage is that he is an insider, he knows where the bank has come from, and where the bank should go in the development of the continent. So it is an added advantage, he has all that it takes to take the fortunes of the bank and Africa forward.”

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AfDB operates under the leadership of a president, who serves as the legal representative of the Bank, the chairperson of the Board of Directors, and the Chief of Staff of the Bank.

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The president conducts the current business of the bank, under the direction of the Board of Directors. He/she is elected by the Board of Governors and serves a five-year term, renewable only once.

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The current president, Donald Kaberuka, a Rwandan national, was elected in July 2005 and commenced his first term on September 1 2005. Following his re-election in May 2010, his final term has now come to an end, prompting the latest round of polls.

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The Rules of Procedure Governing the Election of the President of the AfDB (Article 1), as amended, require that the Bank hold the election of the president during the Annual Meeting closest to the end of the term of office of the serving president.

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