Accra, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor was on Monday unanimously elected Chairman of the African Union (AU) at its Eighth Ordinary Session, which opened at the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday.
He takes over from Congolese President Sassou Nguesso.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD, told GNA in a telephone interview from Addis Ababa.
Alpha Oumar Konare, A.U.\'s Chief Executive, had told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa: \"By consensus vote President (John) Kufuor of Ghana has been elected to the presidency of the African Union\"
Sudan had pushed to obtain the chairmanship during last year\'s summit, which it hosted, but African Leaders selected Republic of Congo\'s President in a compromise deal for him to chair for one year and then hand over to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
But the deal hinged on Sudan demonstrating progress in bringing peace to Darfur, a violence-wracked western Sudan Region. Instead of calming, Darfur\'s violence in recent months has spilled into neighbouring Chad and Central African Republic.
Lobbying for the Chairmanship at the two-day summit indicated that Kenya was out the race for the chairmanship of the African Union as intense lobbying went on ahead of today\'s election.
\"We are out of the race,\" Kenyan representative to the AU, Mr Franklin Esipila said.
Sources said the impending General Election in that country was the basis on which Kenya was locked out of contention as there could be a change of guard.
The AU requires that the one-year chairmanship goes to a President whose term should be uninterrupted during that period.
Other contenders at the beginning of the Summit were Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Sources said Ethiopia was thrown out of the race because it recently invaded Somalia.
For a State to get the chairmanship, it must be supported by at least two-thirds of the 53 members or by consensus. Ghana won because both Rwanda and Tanzania did not have an impressive peacekeeping record.