Candidates for AU Commission chairperson to take part in pre-election debate

aminaCandidates for AU Commission chairperson to take part in pre-election debate

Candidates for the position of chairperson of the African Union Commission are set for the first-ever pre-election public debate this week, with Kenya’s Amina Mohamed lobbying African envoys to endorse her on a promise to free the continent from the last vestiges of colonialism.

The African Union Commission is organising the debate.

Ms Mohamed is competing against Equatorial Guinea’s Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat, Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily, currently the UN representative in Central African Republic, and Botswana’s Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who led the votes in the first elections in July but fell short of winning the maximum number.

“Often, elections of the union leadership occur behind closed doors, denying the African public an opportunity to be informed and participate in the work of the commission,” it said in a statement.
The candidates will not engage one another directly but a moderator will pose questions on issues pertinent to the continent.

They will later field questions from the audience, mostly African diplomats representing their countries at the AU.

But it is not yet clear who among the five aspirants will take part in the debate.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials in Nairobi told the Nation that the debate, to be held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, may add little value to the elections as those in the audience do not vote.

And, as the January election draws near, Kenya’s candidate pitched her bid to an audience of African ambassadors in Addis Ababa, promising to respect the values of Africa’s founding leaders for a freer and better continent.

“My candidature is premised on the firm conviction that Africa is destined to realise its full potential informed by our forefathers’ foresight in establishing the Organisation of African Unity,” she told the envoys on Wednesday.
“Among these shared values is the principle of respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination of the African countries and peoples. These are non-negotiable values and principles that must be upheld in accordance with the decisions of the AU Summit,” she added.

Ms Mohamed appeared to reinforce Kenya’s opposition to Morocco’s demand that the Sahrawi territory be expelled from the AU and be replaced by Rabat.


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