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Today: June 19, 2024

The Horn of Africa States: The Hiring of a New Chief for the African Union Commission

June 4, 2024

By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
June 4th, 2024

It happens once every four years and the elected chief can be re-elected for two terms only after which a new chief has to come in. It also rotates between the regions of the continent, which are the Northern, the Western, the Central, the Southern and the Eastern regions of the continent. It also must rotate among the gender, although like anything African rules can be changed, which precisely happened in March this year when the gender issue was removed for it should have been a female candidate for the chairperson position in 2025.

In any case a candidate must be qualified both academically and experience to handle such an important task as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, which is basically the technical arm of the African Union, in other words the administrative arm as opposed to the legislative and judicial institutions of the organization. The Chairperson, which represents the Head of Government, is also elected once a year by the assembly of leaders of the member countries.

The election of the AU Chairperson in 2025 will be overseen by a panel of eminent Africans, one from each region of the continent. They are as follows:

  1. Paul Ngarambe, Male, Burundi, representing the Central Region.
  2. E Ambassador Konjit SineGiorgis, female, Ethiopia, representing the Eastern Region.
  3. E Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, female, South Africa, representing the Southebe technically assisted by an
  4. E Ambassador Patrick Hayford, male, Ghana, representing the Western Region.

The nominee from the Northern Region will be included in the Panel upon the conclusion of regional consultations and the submission of the nominee. The panel will be assisted by an independent African consultancy firm. It is not clear as yet whether such a firm has been appointed. (source: Google – African Union Commission Elections 2025).

At present the Chairperson of the African Union Commission is Moussa Faki from Chad, while the Chairperson of the African Union is President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Mauritania. The election of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission is conducted through a process as outlined in articles 38, 39 and 42 of the statutes of the  AU Commission as follows (Source Google: AU Constitutive Acts):

Rule 38  deals with the election of the Chairperson and his/her deputy as follows:

  1. The Assembly shall elect the Chairperson of the Commission and his/her Deputy by secret ballot and two-thirds majority of Member States eligible to vote.
  2. The Chairperson of the Commission and his/her Deputy shall be competent women or men with proven experience in the relevant field, commensurate leadership qualities and a good record of accomplishment in government, parliament, international organizations or other relevant sectors of society.
  3. Candidatures for the Office of the Chairperson of the Commission and his/her Deputy shall be circulated to Member States at least three (3) months before the election.
  4. The Chairperson of the Commission and his/her Deputy shall not be from the same region.

Rule 39 deals with the election of commissioners which is conducted as follows:

  1. The Assembly shall appoint eight (8) Commissioners on the basis of equal geographical distribution of which one (1) Commissioner each is from the regions that produced the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson. The remaining six (6) are elected from the remaining three other regions.
  2. The Commissioners shall be competent women or men with proven experience in the relevant field, commensurate leadership qualities and a good record of accomplishment in government, parliament, international organizations or other relevant sectors of society.
  3. Candidatures for the Office of Commissioner shall be circulated to Member States at least three (3) months before the election.

Rule 42 deals with the voting procedure for the election of the members of the Commission as follows:

  1. The voting shall commence with the election of the Chairperson of the Commission, followed by the Deputy Chairperson, thereafter the Assembly shall appoint the Commissioners elected by the Executive Council.
  2. In any election for the Chairperson of the Commission, or his/her Deputy, the balloting shall continue until one (1) of the candidates obtains the two-thirds majority required. Provided that, if the third ballot remains inconclusive, the next ballot shall be restricted to the two (2) candidates who obtained the highest number of votes in the third ballot.
  3. If after three (3) further ballots neither of the two (2) candidates obtains the majority required, the candidate with fewer votes shall withdraw.
  4. Where there are only two (2) candidates initially and neither candidate obtains the majority required after the third ballot, the candidate with fewer votes shall withdraw and the remaining candidate shall proceed to the next round.
  5. If the remaining candidate, fails to obtain the two-thirds majority required in that round, the Chairperson shall suspend the election.
  6. Where there is only one (1) candidate initially and he or she fails to obtain the two-thirds majority required after the third ballot the Chairperson shall suspend the election.
  7. The Deputy Chairperson of the Commission shall take over the Chairmanship of the Commission on an interim basis until new elections are held. If the impasse is in respect of the Deputy Chairperson, the most senior Commissioner by length of tenure, or by age where length of tenure is the same, shall be designated to act as the Deputy Chairperson until new elections are held.
  8. This voting procedure provided for in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 above shall be applicable to all elections conducted by the Assembly in respect of other Organs of the Union.

The Central, Western, and Southern regions of Africa have already served as chairpersons, which leaves the Eastern and Northern regions’ viability for the new Chairperson of the African Union Commission. It was decided that this time, it would be for the Eastern region which involves all the countries of Eastern Africa. They include Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Sudan is already suspended and will not produce any candidate. All the other countries can produce candidates for the position of Chairperson.

Since the last term of Moussa Faki is coming to an end in February 2025, a new Chairperson will be elected from any of these countries of Eastern Africa. They will probably be ex-prime ministers, ex-presidents, or ex-foreign ministers, but they would most probably all be old caricatures which will not add one iota to the development of the continent other than being safe from politics in their home countries and being paid highly for it.

The responsibilities and duties of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission is limited. It is just a highly paid clerical job with no powers for policymaking or a functional chief executive job. The job mostly includes the undertaking of “measures aimed at promoting and popularizing the objectives of the Union” and the execution of “such other functions as may be determined by the Assembly or the Executive Council.”

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission cannot not appoint commissioners, and cannot dismiss them, which clearly affects his/her ability to move things or get things done. A lot of what he or she does depend on the personal drive of the person and not on what is defined to be his/her responsibility in a functional infrastructure. God help the continent if they bring in a troubled tribalist African and affected by old age. It will be a disaster for the African continent in the next four years.

The current candidates for the Chairperson of the AU in the 38th AU Summit in 2025 include Fawzia Yusuf Adam of Somalia, Raila Odinga of Kenya, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti and Vincent Meriton of Seychelles. Kenya’s Raila Odinga has already garnered a large number of endorsing countries, mostly from the EAC. It will be ironic for the AU to elect a person who should have retired long ago and cannot add value to a dynamic organization and a continent with a young population and with a different outlook on life, development, and resource management, as Africa represents currently.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. If it was to my wishes, I would go with Mahamoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti. That country has produced citizens who always maintain their balances in their outlooks, then followed by the candidates from Seychelles and Kenya.

  2. What makes me very concerned these days is, the barrage of rhetoric by this madman Putin in Moscow. He is threatening the free world with his nuclear arsenal. He is a desperate man after taking a licking daily in Ukraine. He has successfully silenced all his critics at home and there is no one strong enough in his inner circles to watch over him. The world is more and more at risk with a nuclear apocalypse with this rabid dog.

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