AU chair de­bate floun­ders on ICC

CityPress - - News -

BOTSWANA Ven­son-Moitoi (65) is Botswana’s min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion. After a three-year stint as a jour­nal­ist, she joined the pub­lic ser­vice. She has headed sev­eral min­istries over the past 15 years.

She de­scribed the African Union (AU) ini­tia­tive, Agenda 2063 – which sets out a long-term devel­op­ment plan for Africa – as a pro­ject which would make the con­ti­nent a “bet­ter place for all”. She was the strong­est can­di­date in the last round of elec­tions, held in July, for the next AU Com­mis­sion boss. How­ever, Botswana’s Pres­i­dent Ian Khama, who never at­tends AU meet­ings, weak­ens her can­di­da­ture and is not taken se­ri­ously by the or­gan­i­sa­tion. CHAD Ma­hamat (56) has served as Chad’s for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter since 2008 and claims to be pas­sion­ate about peace and se­cu­rity on the con­ti­nent. Last year, he urged world lead­ers at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly to be more com­mit­ted in sup­port­ing Africa’s fight to erad­i­cate ter­ror­ism.

He stud­ied law and was served as prime min­is­ter of Chad for two years, from 2003 to 2005. He speaks French, Ara­bic and English. His coun­try’s per­ceived re­la­tions with a fac­tion in Libya goes against the AU’s ef­forts at es­tab­lish­ing a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment and gov­ern­ment there.

Defin­ing the role of AU Com­mis­sion chair as do­ing what­ever it takes to im­ple­ment de­ci­sions, he has ex­pressed his will­ing­ness “to sac­ri­fice my life for this con­ti­nent”. Pelonomi Ven­son-Moitoi, for the AU Com­mis­sion po­si­tion.

South Africa is of­fi­cially obliged to sup­port the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity can­di­date, who is Ven­sonMoitoi. But a South African of­fi­cial with knowl­edge of the lob­by­ing said Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma might ul­ti­mately cast the coun­try’s secret bal­lot in favour of Jib­ril – partly out of sol­i­dar­ity with Kenya’s stance on the ICC – or even vote for the Sene­galese can­di­date, Ab­doulaye Bathily.

South Africa is, how­ever, un­easy that Sene­gal might sup­port the read­mis­sion of Morocco to the AU, while South EQUA­TO­RIAL GUINEA Mokuy (51) has been Equa­to­rial Guinea’s for­eign min­is­ter since 2012. De­scribed as a Pan African­ist, he cham­pi­ons Africa’s in­de­pen­dence. He holds a mas­ter’s de­gree in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion and claims to have first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of what Africa’s youth need to pros­per.

He worked for the UN Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion for 20 years and speaks English, French, Span­ish, Por­tuguese and Fang. He calls him­self “an Afro­phone” who be­lieves in free move­ment, say­ing the African pass­port – launched last year – should be held by Africa’s denizens, not just heads of state.

Mokuy’s bid for the post failed in July, and his coun­try’s dis­mal hu­man rights record counts against him. KENYA Jib­ril (55) is Kenya’s sec­re­tary for for­eign af­fairs. She has held of­fice since 2013. She worked with in­ter­na­tional bod­ies such as the UN and the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion, and served as Kenya’s am­bas­sador to the UN.

With 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in pub­lic ser­vice un­der her belt, she con­tin­ues to cam­paign for Africa’s rights in the UN. Kenya plays a prom­i­nent role on the world stage, which strength­ens her can­di­da­ture.

How­ever, it is tem­pered by the fact that Eras­tus Mwen­cha, a Kenyan, has been deputy chair of the AU Com­mis­sion for the past eight years. Africa strongly sup­ports West­ern Sa­hara’s in­de­pen­dence from Moroc­can rule.

The first round of vot­ing – at the July sum­mit in Rwanda – failed to pro­duce a new chair­per­son be­cause too many states ab­stained, with many say­ing none of the can­di­dates was qual­i­fied enough.

The other two present can­di­dates are Agapito Mba Mokuy, for­eign min­is­ter of Equa­to­rial Guinea, and Moussa Faki Ma­hamat, for­eign min­is­ter of Chad.

Even though the de­bate has at­tracted much pop­u­lar SENE­GAL Bathily (69) is a UN special en­voy. He has presided over the body’s re­gional of­fice in Cen­tral Africa for the past two years and has helped me­di­ate con­flicts in sev­eral coun­tries.

He calls him­self “a cit­i­zen of this con­ti­nent”, hav­ing clocked up 40 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence as a politi­cian, aca­demic and con­flict man­age­ment spe­cial­ist. He is the old­est of the can­di­dates and is flu­ent in English and French. He has strong net­works across Africa and started cam­paign­ing for the post be­fore the last round of vot­ing ended.

How­ever, Sene­gal has been sym­pa­thetic to Morocco’s cur­rent bid to re­join the AU, while most mem­ber states sup­port West­ern Sa­hara’s in­de­pen­dence from Morocco. in­ter­est, some­thing the AU was hop­ing for with its #MjadalaAfrica trend­ing on Twit­ter, many ob­servers doubted this would have an ef­fect on vot­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Novem­ber’s Peace and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Re­port, pub­lished by the In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies (ISS), many fac­tors play a role in the secret bal­lots, in­clud­ing the per­sonal con­nec­tions and net­works of the heads of state, re­gional sol­i­dar­ity, re­gional al­liances, lin­guis­tic and his­tor­i­cal links be­tween coun­tries, and the per­sonal stature of the can­di­dates, the ISS said in its re­port.

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