22112010. Home affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was the keynote speaker at the launch of the 2010 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer and 16 Days of No Violence against Women at the Irene Country Lodge Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Addis Ababa - The chairwoman of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has appointed Djeneba Diarra, as the secretary general of the AU Commission, it said on Tuesday.

She is the first woman to occupy the position. She replaces Amb Jean Mfasoni who has retired. Prior to her appointment, she was deputy legal counsel (2004-2014) and served as acting legal counsel from July 2012 to December 2013.

Diarra was also acting executive secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on the Fight against Corruption (March 2014-March 2015) based at the Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania; the unique continental organization mandated by the AU to deal with corruption and other related matters in Africa.

She joined the Organization of African Unity African Unity (OAU), Office of the Legal Counsel in 1996 as a legal officer, where she gathered enormous experience in the drafting of legal instruments governing the African Union (AU). She was instrumental in the drafting of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which ushered in the birth of the AU in Durban, South Africa in July 2002.

In July 2004, Diarra was promoted to Deputy Legal Counsel and in July 2012, she was appointed Acting Legal Counsel with the principal responsibility of offering legal advise to the AU.

During her acting tenure (July 2012 to December 2013), she successfully conducted several elections, including the July 2012 elections of the Members of the Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which appointed the first woman Chairperson of the AU Commission in the 52 years of existence of the AU and its predecessor the OAU.

Diarra was the first to occupy the position of the secretary general of the Pan African Parliament, Headquartered in Midrand, South Africa, in an acting capacity, following its launch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March 2004.

She was also the first to occupy, in an acting capacity, the position of Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, following its operationalization in Banjul, The Gambia in July 2006.

Diarra has been previously appointed by the AU commission chairperson as acting executive secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on the Fight against Corruption (AUABC) (March 2014-March 2015), based at the Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania.

Her experience and previous positions both in the OAU and AU has favoured her with insight and knowledge of the AU and its development goals as well as its rules, procedures and practises.

Diarra is the daughter of the late Amb. Mamadou Diarra who served the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in various capacities.

ANA