DNT Exclusive – At a time when the African continent is fully embracing democratic form of governance; at a time when coup leaders in Mali have been treated with zero tolerance by ECOWAS; and at a time when Africa needs it most, political competition for the person who leads the executive arm of the African Union has been stifled to leave one person running unopposed as the AU Commission Chairperson.
In an interview with DNT’s Diaspora Weekly, Yohannes Mezgebe, Leader of Ubuntu Leadership Institute, the organizers of the first every debate for the AU Commission Chairmanship contestants in 2016 laid the blame at the doorstep of the current Chairman of the African Union President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. “In his capacity as the Chairperson of the African Union,” Mezgebe said, “I would have expected him to follow President Kagame in demonstrating leadership to transform the organization.”
Rather, many observers are unanimous in their view that under Ramaphosa, the African Union has taken alarming steps backward and is becoming increasingly vulnerable to takeover from the highest foreign bidder. They believe Mossa Mahamat Faki is too inept and compromised to even be a candidate for AU Commission Chairperson let alone an unopposed candidate.
Advocate Sarfo Abebreseh was blunt in his assessment of Faki. “If he was just competent, I could understand it. But from the 17th floor on down to the ground floor of the AU Building in Addis Ababa, all the staff thinks he must go,” said Abebreseh also in an interview on DNT. Even some of the heads of state have reportedly referred to Faki as a ‘Dead Horse”.
Indeed the African Union Commission Staff Association in March accused their boss of “corruption, cronyism and a total collapse of leadership.” They said that the “AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat is involved in a “mafia-style” cartel that operates with impunity at the highest levels of the institution.” https://mg.co.za/article/2020-03-12-exclusive-a-mafia-style-cartel-is-running-the-african-union-claim-staff/
Yet the other four regions in Africa – Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa do not have candidates to compete with Central Africa’s Moussa Faki thanks to what observers call “Mafia dealings” behind the scenes led by current AU Chairman President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
To his credit, Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo nominated former ECOWAS Chairman Ibn Chambas to represent the west only for the latter to withdraw his nomination under strange circumstances just 48 hours after his nomination.
An attempt by Zimabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa to nominate outspoken critic of France Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao to represent the southern region was stopped in its tracks by Ramaphosa who made it clear to Mnangagwa that he would not have his support as Chairman of AU.
Yet all other elected positions have multiple contestants. DNT is in possession of an AU Document listing all the candidates for all elected positions for the Commissions leadership and the Chairperson’s position is the only one without a single opposing candidate.
For the position of Deputy Chairperson, there are eight candidates – five women and three men. And with Faki running unopposed, the three men are wasting their time as candidates because per the AU charter, the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson cannot be of the same gender.
Many believe this alternate gender provision may be the reason why the incumbent, Ghana’s Kwesi Quartey who declared his interest to run for the number one position, has also been muscled out. All regions with the exception of Northern Africa, and Central because the incumbent Chairperson is from there, are represented in the contest for the Deputy Chair position.
The next position – Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Development – sports 14 candidates covering four of the five regions with only Central not fielding a candidate. This means the incumbent, Sacko from Angola has 13 people – ten men and three women – vying for her position in keeping with the AU Charter.
For the position of Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining the contestants are 16 including incumbent Zambia’s Albert Muchanga. Here again all regions are represented with the exception of Central Africa.
Education, Science, Technology and Innovation is an open field with 17 contestants representing all five regions but this time with no incumbent.
Egypt’s Amani Abou-Zeid is the incumbent in a filed of nine contestants vying for the position of Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner. All five regions are represented in this field.
Central is again the only region not represented as 15 contestants vy for the position of Political Affair, Peace and Security Commissioner with Burkina Faso’s Minate Samate as the incumbent.
Finally the position with the most contestants is the Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development. This position is an open field with all five regions fielding candidates.
DNT News, Accra with Reporting from Addis Ababa