Reports reaching DNT News indicate that all 55 African Heads of State were preview to the Price Waterhouse Coopers audit report that painted a damning picture of “nepotism, unverified qualifications recruitments, contract anomalies, and even sexual harassment” under the leadership of Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat before 51 of them proceeded to vote for him in an unopposed AU Commission Chairmanship election.
The report, which was unearthed by Devex, also found anomalies in staff remuneration and allowances — including irregular issuance of spousal allowances and double housing allowances issued to spouses working at AUC.
The audit, which was initiated by the AU Executive Council and was carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, was tasked with investigating “possible wrong-doing, misuse, and/or mismanagement of the AUC’s resources” in several areas, including the staff recruitment and contract renewal process.
Read the Devex report here:
And DNT can authoritatively state that the report was in the hands of the heads of state, and its content discussed well in advance of the February 6 virtual voting. “They knew about it; they discussed it at the ambassadorial level; they discussed it at the ministerial level; This is Africa,” our source at AU Commission lamented.
Before the report, African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat had been accused by the AU Commission Staff Association of running the organization like a “mafia-style” cartel. A memo from AU staff accused their boss of corruption and cronyism. And that memo was copied to the Heads of States
There were several examples of allegedly illegal appointments of staff, and calls for the “restoration of sound administrative management and leadership.
“At a meeting on Sept. 28, 2019, staff complained about the recruitment process for the AU’s new head of human resources, Hamza Sahel. Staffers said his hiring was the “manifestation of glaring cronyism and total collapse of leadership” inside the AU, the memo read.
As the world’s attention focused on the 2020 American elections, another important vote for a key position generating controversy in Africa was the uncontested race that provoked outrage from observers of the 55-member African Union.
Chadian politician Moussa Faki ran unopposed for reelection as chairman of the African Union Commission after colluding with then AU Chairman and president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa to muscle out competing candidates.
Critics maintained that his unopposed candidacy was undemocratic especially when Faki himself was a beneficiary of a postponed election four years prior to pave the way for all five of Africa’s region to field candidates.
Commenting on the development, Head of COSUA Sarfo Abebreseh noted as follows:
“Very disappointing. Our Heads of State have actually betrayed the trust of the 1.7 Billion Africans in the homeland and in the diaspora. The firing of Arikana Chihombori-Quao, the replacement of the Head of the AU Security Chief with Zene Moussa Mahamat, a direct brother of Faki, the replacement of the President of the Pan African Parliament with a Clerk and the replacement of the African Union Ambassador to Europe by another Faki stooge from Chad, are all very very serious infractions of the African Union Constitutive Act of 1999 which were flouted in the full glare of our Heads of State. For Faki to get away with all these aberrations and even be rewarded with an unopposed run, and an eventual 51 vote, is to say the least, very very disappointing from our leaders.”
Not even an eleventh-hour letter from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to postpone the election was enough to give pause to the ignoble run up to the undemocratic election that many saw to be a bad example to some of Africa’s young democracies.
And to finally discover that the seriously damning audit report was known to the heads of state in advance of the February 6 vote, and they still so popularly elected him to a second term, those critics are scratching their heads in awe.
As one insider put it, “This is Africa.” Indeed it is.
Victoria Asantewaa, DNT News, Accra