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AU Seat Battle Poses Diplomatic Conundrum for Uganda, Kenya

The Ugandan government is preparing a response to Kenya’s decision to front Dr Amina Mohamed for the coveted post of African Union Chairperson, Chimp Corps report.

The East African region had earlier resolved to throw its weight behind Uganda’s former Vice President Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe.

However, none of the candidates including Kazibwe got a majority vote in the recent elections held on the sidelines of the AU Summit in Kigali.

The polls were extended to January 2017.

Kazibwe had vowed to contest again for the seat despite facing unprecedented hostility from West African States which maintain she is not fit for the job.

Uganda was on Monday shocked when Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta chose to announce Amina as Kenya’s choice for the AU top seat.

“Today, in recognition of our obligation and commitment to support the African agenda, I am proud to offer Amb. Amina Mohamed for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), a position currently held by Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa,” said Kenyatta.

“In this regard, my administration has submitted the candidature of Amb. Mohamed for consideration at the African Union Summit in January 2017,” added the president as he spoke at a youth forum in Nairobi.

Kenyatta in 2013 appointed Dr Amina as Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Kenyatta said Amina has “steered our diplomatic engagement to greater heights. We have benefitted tremendously from regional and international engagements of national and continental significance.”

He further said, “Amb. Mohamed brings extraordinary experience and distinguished service at the national and international levels.”

Uganda in shock

According to senior officials at Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Kenyatta’s action caught many by surprise.

“But this is a diplomatic issue that will be handled diplomatically,” a senior official who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely, told ChimpReports.

It remains unclear if Kenyatta had consulted East African states over his choice of Dr Amina.

If it’s not the case, the move could ruffle feathers in the region’s diplomatic community.

Museveni, who supported Kazibwe’s candidature, is a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Museveni played a key role in rallying Africa to defend Kenyatta when the International Criminal Court was after his neck.

Contacted, Uganda government’s deputy spokesperson Shaban Bantariza said he was yet to get a brief on the matter.

‘“I don’t know yet the official government position on that, but certainly, no position thereof is “ring fenced” for anyone,’” said Bantariza.

“The rest is campaign and lobbying to get our very African best for African Union leadership,” he added.

Who is Dr Amina?

Dr Amina is the first woman to lead the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya.

She was elected President of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 14 for the next 4 years and served as the Chairperson of the historic World Trade Organization (WTO) 10th Ministerial Conference – the top decision-making body of the WTO, and Co-Chairperson of the Ministerial segment of the first TICAD Summit held on our continent.

She also is the first woman to have chaired the three most important bodies of the World Trade Organization; the Trade Policy Body, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Governing General Council of the WTO.

She was President of the Conference on Disarmament, and the first African and the first female Chairperson of the Council of the International Organisation for Migration.

In addition, she served as a member of the Executive Bodies and Committees of the World Health Organization, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Intellectual Property Organisation and the U.N. Programme on HIV and AIDS.

According to Kenyatta, “Cumulatively, these assignments have earned Kenya and Amb. Amina international acclaim and respect.”

In 2008-2011 at the height of Kenya’s legal, institutional and constitutional review process, Dr Amina was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, charged with the responsibility of the Constitutional Review and implementation process.

She Chaired the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector reforms (GJLOS), a cross-institutional programme which carried out broad reforms at a time of great change in our country.

In 2010, Amb. Mohamed was elected President of the U.N. International Conference on Transnational Crime in Vienna, Austria for a two year period.

In 2011, she was appointed by the UN Secretary General as U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

During her tenure UNEP was upgraded from a 58- member Governing Body to the U.N. Environment Assembly, encompassing all members of the United Nations.

Kenyatta said given her track record, “I am confident that Amb. Amina Mohamed will serve our Continent with the requisite professionalism, intellect, skill, integrity, passion and commitment. I have no doubt that her international experience and exposure will be an invaluable asset in driving African Commission in the achievement of Africa`s immense potential.”

This post was syndicated from ChimpReports. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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