CS Amina hopeful AU will break voting norm, appoint her commission chair

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohammed, remains optimistic that the African Heads of State will move from the traditional voting pattern and appoint her the next chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Ambassador Mohamed aims at taking over the leadership mantle of the African Diplomatic Corps from the outgoing South African, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The candidates are usually fielded by political and economic blocs as well as lingual groupings.

In an interview on Citizen TV’s Sunday Live Show,  hosted by Hussein Mohamed, Ambassador Mohamed expressed confidence that African leaders will break away from the traditional voting practice to elect her the next African lead diplomat.

“My hope and my expectation is that I get votes from across the continent,” she said.

She said that the African policy has been the cornerstone of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, adding that the Kenyan government has taken a lead role in every initiative and programme undertaken in the continent since President Kenyatta took office.

She cited the lead role that Kenya played in the fight against Ebola in Liberia, putting resources and hosting the African remittances institute and immense contributions to peace missions cross the continent.

Ambassador Mohamed promised to aggressively pursue the implementation of Agenda 2063, developed by the Africa Summit for the continent that was adopted in 2013.

Agenda 2063, Mohamed says, provides the catalyst needed to stimulate growth in Africa through creation of opportunities, improving continents infrastructure connectivity as well as embracing technology.

“One doesn’t even need to go outside the agenda. One needs to aggressively and faithfully implement the agenda,” she told Sunday Live.

“We have a very comprehensive, inclusive growth agenda that will drive sustainable growth in Africa.”

She heaped praise on outgoing Chairperson for launching the agenda, saying her tenure will embark on overseeing successful implementation of the same.

On the issue of Erastus Mwencha, a Kenyan who is the current vice chairperson of the AU commission, Ambassador Mohamed said that Kenya is seeking to have a chairperson of the commission for the first time.

“Mwencha is AU’s commission vice chair, not the chairperson and he has really done a good job. We are proud of him,” said Ms Mohamed.

She added that Mwencha’s second term in office will expire in January 2017 before she takes office, if elected, therefore, eliminating any possibility of two Kenyans leading the commission.

She also sought to clarify that Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, has no chance of clinching the AU’s Heads of State chairmanship since the rotational seat is now headed to the West African bloc.

The Foreign Affairs CS emphatically defended her government’s decision to withdraw its peace keeping troops from the troubled South Sudan.

She said that the decision was well calculated and necessary since there was no proper ground for the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to sack the Kenyan Military General in-charge of the mission.

Mohamed further said that the United Nations neither consulted the Kenyan government nor communicated the decision as it was the case before the appointment.

“General Ondieki reported to his office in Juba on June 10, 2016 and formally took office on June 17, 2016. Violence broke out on July 8, 2016. There is absolutely no way you could blame a person who was only twenty days in office,” she said.

Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki was fired as the United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS) Head of Mission on November 1, 2016 by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, accusing him of ineffective leadership and failure to secure UN installations as well as failure to protect civilians fleeing the chaos in Juba.

Kenya immediately announced withdrawal of its troops from South Sudan, apparently angered by Mr Ki-Moon’s decision.

Ambassador Mohamed said that the decision to pull troops from Juba was necessary to maintain the personnel morale and also protect them from ridicule from peacekeepers from other nations, adding that Kenya’s troops record on international peacekeeping missions is irreproachable and cannot be let tarnished by anyone.

The charismatic diplomatic has enjoyed a successful career both locally and internationally. Prior to her appointment to head the Kenyan Foreign Policy, she was the Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

She was the first chairwomen of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) among other prominent appointments with international bodies.

The next African Union Commission chairperson will be elected between January 30 -31, 2017 during the 28th Extra Ordinary African Heads of State Summit at commission’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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