Al­ge­ria lat­est state to back CS Amina’s can­di­dacy for AU Com­mis­sion top post

Se­nate pres­i­dent Ab­dalka­der says Kenya’s top diplo­mat has the ex­pe­ri­ence and skills to steer the con­ti­nent

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

Al­ge­ria has pledged to sup­port For­eign Af­fairs CS Amina Mo­hamed for the chair­per­son of the Africa Union Com­mis­sion.

Se­nate pres­i­dent Ben Saleh Ab­dalka­der, who met Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto yes­ter­day in Al­giers, said is sup­port is un­con­di­tional.

“We know Madam Amina’s po­ten­tial based on her ex­pe­ri­ence. We will give her full sup­port for the po­si­tion,” Ab­dalka­der said.

Ruto said Kenya is grate­ful and will work with all African na­tions to en­sure the AU be­comes stronger.

“Al­ge­ria, like Kenya, ap­pre­ci­ates Africa needs a lead­er­ship that is fo­cused on elim­i­nat­ing bar­ri­ers to trade and move­ment of peo­ple. We be­lieve Amina will pro­vide the im­pe­tus to achieve this no­ble ob­jec­tive,” he said.

Al­ge­ria joins other African coun­tries that have pledged sup­port for Mo­hamed. Other Kenyan of­fi­cials are also lob­by­ing for Mo­hamed. She needs two-thirds of 50 AU votes. Dur­ing the meet­ing in Al­giers, Ruto as­sured the Al­ge­rian gov­ern­ment of Kenya’s po­si­tion on the fu­ture of Western Sa­hara in the AU. “We know what is hap­pen­ing about Western Sa­hara and its mem­ber­ship to the AU,” he said.

Ef­forts by Western Sa­hara to be­come an AU mem­ber have caused strained re­la­tions be­tween Al­ge­ria and Morocco. The lat­ter is op­posed to its in­clu­sion in the AU. But Kenya and Al­ge­ria sup­port Western Sa­hara’s mem­ber­ship.

Ruto has vis­ited Western and North­ern African coun­tries to seek sup­port for Mo­hamed’s can­di­dacy. The coun­tries in­clude Chad, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.

He will visit Mali and Nige­ria. Nine­teen Com­mon Mar­ket for East­ern and South­ern Africa coun­tries have al­ready backed Mo­hamed. On Wed­nes­day, Sierra Leone Pres­i­dent Ernest Koroma said his coun­try will sup­port her.

“We have a can­di­date from an ECOWAS mem­ber state, but we know Amina has what it takes to steer the com­mis­sion and the African agenda within the AU,” he said dur­ing a meet­ing with Ruto in Free Town.

AFRICA NEEDS MORE SAY IN UN

While thank­ing Koroma for sup­port, Ruto said most de­ci­sions made by the United Na­tions af­fect African coun­tries. “For this rea­son, it is im­per­a­tive that Africa gets more say at the UN ta­ble,” he said.

The Com­mit­tee of 10 Heads of State on UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Re­forms, chaired by Koroma, pro­motes this goal. Ruto and Koroma dis­cussed the need for Kenya and Sierra Leone to har­ness trade and in­crease flights be­tween them.

Ear­lier, Ruto met Liberia Pres­i­dent Ellen John­son Sir­leaf and said her stew­ard­ship of ECOWAS fos­ters eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion and cre­ation of a sin­gle trad­ing bloc. Ruto said this at­tests to the fact that women lead­ers can de­liver.

“I’m con­fi­dent Amina Mo­hamed can com­ple­ment her ef­forts as chair­per­son of the AU Com­mis­sion,” he said. “We want a new African Union lead­er­ship that will work round the clock to en­sure Africa takes its right­ful place in global af­fairs, de­vel­op­ment and fur­thers the con­ti­nent’s agenda to de­rive great ben­e­fit from in­ter­ac­tion with the rest of the world.”

In Ghana, Ruto met Pres­i­dent John Ma­hama. In Ivory Coast, he held talks with Pres­i­dent Alas­sane Ou­at­tara, while in Chad, he met Pres­i­dent Idriss Deby.

/RE­BECCA NDUKU

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto is wel­comed by Al­ge­rian Se­nate pres­i­dent Ben Saleh Ab­dalka­der in Al­giers yes­ter­day. Ruto is tour­ing African coun­tries, seek­ing sup­port for For­eign Af­fairs CS Amina Mo­hamed’s can­di­dacy for the post of African Union Com­mis­sion chair­per­son

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