Sunday, February 12, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - From Eastern Rift: Post AU Elections, Employable Education, Africa's First Electric Train to the Lions' Roar

Have a fruitful week and cheers!

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Welcome to the African Union Post Election Edition. 

Almost two weeks ago, a new regime emerged at the African Union. The handing over has been brought forward to March 2017.  Not nearly as combative as Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma vs. the Honorable incumbent Jean Ping in 2012, nevertheless, the 2017 contest for the position of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission had all the intrigues, including the colonial language division, and even more. However, all is united behind the new Team. Meanwhile, the horse trading, finger pointing, and the request for  an "inquest" are lessons for future contestants with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco

"It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long! It is a good day when you can show your affection for your beloved home! Africa is my continent, and my home. 
I am home at last and happily reunited with you. I have missed you all.  That is why, My Dear Brothers, Heads of State, I wanted to make this trip and to address you, without waiting for the protocol and legal procedure for the Kingdom to take its place again within the Organization to be finalized."

Is Morocco filling the void of Libya in all-Africa PanAfricanism

Even though it did not vote, the Morocco swag became something like a
After 33 Years, a family Reunion.
fortune teller since the candidates had to opine on Morocco - at least informally. In his speech, King Mohammed VI did not disappoint with flairs. At one point, it appeared he would have preferred to be an ECOWASian - admiring the Western region's brand of solidarity. 

The evening before, the Man of the Moments offered dinner. The eventual winner of the top post, Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, was seen seated with the Moroccan Foreign Minister and his lead campaign manager was an Algerian. Since Algeria and Morocco have been on the opposite end of the very vexatious Polisario argument, to say this was intriguing is to put mildly. 

The 28th Ordinary Assembly of the AU will go down in the annals of the Union as when Morocco  returned to, what the King variously described as "its natural place within the African institutional family." Yes, every African nation is in the family. 
The Moroccan Delegation in Joyful Mood in Addis Ababa.
The Moroccan Delegation in Joyful Mood in Addis Ababa.

After Morocco's return to the AU was announced, the Moroccan delegation burst into singing the national anthem in front of the piano bar at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa. You can see the Minister of Foreign, Affairs Salaheddine Mezouar, loosening his tie for the grand moment, surrounded by his Minister Delegate Nasser Bourita and journalists.

In this Edition

Our most ardent readers are Pan Africanists - from public officials, civil society activists, educators to young students inspired by potentials; Friends of Africa; associated multilateral institutions or those representing African populations. Sometimes, the curious read. 

Our articles bring alive a meaning in Agenda 2063's First Five Ten-Year Strategic Implementation (2014-2023) from education to recreation, politics to linguistic, justice to service, little known development to popular entertainment, fancies and follies, and tangible liberation that addresses sustainable and self-reliant growth. Almost all the articles are researched-based or factual reporting. We appreciate the reader's feed-back on corrections or other comments.

Given the range, a reader may not be keen on all. You may choose from the Table of Contents and scroll to your choice. If an Edition does not have your preference, perhaps next time. The typical reader saves the URL link and reads at interval. 

Evelyn Joe, The AU Citizen Dispatch

Table of Contents
Pictures of the Week: The Indomitable Lions of Cameron Roar. Winner of the African Nations Cup over the Pharaohs of Egypt.  Fan-oriented First Lady Chantal Biya thrilled.  Encore -The Bidoung Challenge!

 Somalia's New President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the State-man's exit of former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.  

Inaugural Ride: Africa's first electric in the transnational railway took its first journey from the Djibouti to Ethiopia with singers, African leaders and International diplomats.

Development Matter of Emergency: The Capacity Deficiency Syndrome  We are not Educating Our Youths to Solve Africa's Problem. We Need to make them Employable by African Capacity Development Foundation. Financial Liberation and Policy Space. Why Diaspora's asset is among the urgent solutions.

New look in leadership in the next four years. Only one incumbent prevailed. How will Women and Girl Child priorities fare after H.E. Dlamini-Zuma?

Rear Mirror: How the Eastern Front Runner, H.E. Amina Mohamed of Kenya, lost the vote to become Chairperson of the AU Commission. Et tu, Brute? Betrayal -  the  Eastern Rift and Recrimination.

Grace in Defeat and Magnanimous  in Victory: Mrs. Fatima K. Mohammed of Nigeria and Mr. Chergui Smail of Algeria.
There Is Something To Learn From Fatimah Kyari Mohammed On Losing Like A Winner?

"The Africa rising narrative can no longer be denied. Africa has over the past decade, made the greatest economic gains than any other region in the world."

Adoulaye Mar Dieye , UNDP Director Regional for Africa.

Dr. Zuma
H.E. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Outgoing Chairperson, African Union Commission
By sheer will, she championed Woman Empowerment.
Ma'am, as you exit one stage, chin up and God's Speed.

Winner of the Biennial African Cup of Nations: 2017

Relevance to Agenda 2063
Aspiration 6: Goal 18: 
Engaged and Empowered Youth and Children
  • At least 50% of Youth and Children are engaged in talent based development programmes, leisure and recreation.
  • At least 20% of Youth and Children are engaged in sports activities. 
Football or soccer has potentials to grip the nation and Africa with varying levels of sensations. Daily activities are known to come to a standstill. Political and tribal foes put aside their metaphorical daggers. 

The President of Cameroon's Senate was in action, sending a morale boosting missive to the Lions before the finals. Read below:


The President of the Senate
To Mr Benjamin Moukandjo, Captain of the Indomitable Lions 
C/O The Minister of Sports and Physical Education Franceville (Gabon)

Dearest Indomitable Lions:

With audacity, determination, bravery and combativeness, you successfully defeated the Teranga Lions of Senegal, thus earning, after this hard-fought battle, your sport in the semi-final of the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). 

This brilliant victory is a reflection of your spirit of patriotism, solidarity, combativeness and sacrifice, as well as your sense of discipline and selflessness, which are key to the "fighting spirit" of the Indomitable Lions, DNA of the National Football Team. Through my voice, the Upper House of Parliament extends its warm and sincere congratulations.

Dearest Valiant  Indomitable Lions:
We stand with you wholeheartedly. Our encouragements as well as our affectionate and patriotic sentiments will accompany you for a successful continuation for qualification to the final of the AFCON 2017, where the Senate shall be present by your side in Libreville next February 5, to support you and encourage you to the final victory. 

I encourage you to preserve and display the same determination, so that our national flag, symbol of our national unity, which is so dear to Cameroonians, should continue flying very high.  Also, while drawing from the words of Cameroon's First Sportsman, H.E. Paul Biya, President of the Republic, Head of State, I will tell you: "Just one word: Go on". Go Lions! 
Yaounde, 30th January, 2017, Marcel NIAT NJIFENJI, President of the Senate.

Before the final game against the most titled African team, the Pharaohs of Egypt (7 times winners), President Biya  dispatched a special envoy to Libreville, Gabon to galvanize the team to victory with a FCFA 100 million donation.

 Indomitable Lions of Cameroon: 2. Pharaohs of Egypt: 1.

"I don't have 23 players, I have 23 friends. Over the weeks we went from being a squad to being a family. It is unbelievable what all the guys did. It is tremendous." Hugo Broos, Coach of the Indomitable Lions.

With the final whistle, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon became a fifth time winner. They triumphed over the Pharaohs of Egypt on February 5, 2017, in Libreville, Gabon. The Pharaohs had taken the trophy seven times.

African Champion: The Indomitable Lions Arrived Home to a Heroic Welcome
African Champion: The Indomitable Lions arrived home at the Nsimalen airport, Yaounde to a heroic national jubilation.
A thunderous welcome at the airport.
Captain Benjamin Moukandjo

The Lions' triumphant bus ride to the Unity Palace  for a State reception in their honor by President Paul Biya and First Lady Chantal Biya on February 8, 2017.


Watch them arrive at the Unity Palace with the band playing. President Biya gave a humorous speech. Watch the dance.

"You have put everything inside the soup"
 President Paul Biya

Basking in the splendor of appreciation from the nation, the Indomitable Lions presented the football trophy to President Paul Biya and Mrs. Chantal Biya in the presence of diplomatic, religious and political leaders, among whom was the leading opposition SDF party chieftain, Ni John Fru Ndi. The President heralded the Lions and thanked Cameroonians for being united in their support for the team. The President also thanked the Lions' Coach Hugo Broos and management.

"You have raised the bar so high," he said. "We are proud of you, we are all proud of you," President Biya enthused. "As is a common saying, you have put everything inside the soup," he said drawing applause and laughter from the crowd.

The President attributed the winning of the trophy to unity, solidarity, courage and determination among the players. Calling the players by their names, he stated: "You are a block solid as a rock. You are a good example to our people, especially our youth." He asserted: "Whether you are from the North of the South, from the east of the West, you are first and foremost, Cameroonians. 

"Whether you call yourself Moukandjo, Ondoa, Ngadeu, Aboubakar, Fai, Bassogog or Ndip Tambe, you are first of all and before all else Cameroonians." The President decorated all the 23 players and the technical staff with the Medal of Knight of the Cameroon National Order of Valour. Alioum Boukar, goalkeepers trainer of the squad, and Pierre Nguidjol, head of administration, received the Commander of the National Order of Valour medal.

Hilarious Moments

 Adolphe Teikeu of the Indomitable Lions doing the Bidoung Challenge! to the delight of the crowd. 
The Bidoung Challenge
The Bidoung Challenge

The origin of the Bidoung Challenge is traced to  Indomitable Lioness' reception at the Unity Palace in December 2016. The female National football team came second in the 10th edition of the AWCON. At the Presidential reception in their honor, Cameroon's Minister of Sports and Physical Education in Cameroon, Mr.  Pierre Ishmael Bidoung Mkpwatt,  in greeting President Biya bent down very low with a stretch.The entire nation erupted in jests and laughter. 

The pose immediately went viral internationally and featured in many social media and mainstream publications, including BBC.  The bend-down-low-and-stretch greeting has since inspired so many memes and imitations, with goats, cats and humans. It is called the Bidoung Challenge. See some of the enacting poses, courtesy BBC:

With the players and staff.
Front: President Biya, Mrs. Biya with the trophy
 and Captain Moukandjo

The Captain making the team's presentation. Opposition leader of the Social Democratic Front, Ni Fru Ndi,  in traditional outfit - third from right.

The Lions each received the Knight of the Cameroon Order of Valor. The First Lady took a Selfie with Ondoa
The First Lady took a selfie with Fabrice Ondoa, the goalkeeper.
The down-to-earth First Lady with people-oriented sparks.

At the end of the ceremony, Mrs. Biya posed for a series of photos with the players. 
Bravo Indomitable Lions

Aspiration 3. An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
Goal 11: Democratic values, practices, universal principles of human rights, justice and the rule of law entrenched.

 Song and Celebration
Somalia's new President Abdullahi Farmajo

On February 8, 2017, Somalia's incumbent, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, conceded defeat in a state-man's fashion to former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo saying that "history was made; we have taken this path to democracy."

The civilian transfer of power in another African nation further cements Africa's embrace of the electoral box to decide.

President  Farmajo who had lived in Buffalo, New York, USA  holds dual Somali-U.S citizenship. He took the oath of office in what would be Somalia's first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century. He was declared victorious when incumbent President Mohamud dropped out of the contest in the second round after losing 184 to 97 to Farmajo. 

Aspiration 2. An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and vision of Africa's Renaissance. Goal 10: Communications and Infrastructure Connectivity. 

Africa's Integration

It is unrealistic to envision a unified Africa that is unconnected. 

Africa's first electric, transnational railway took its first journey from the capital of Djibouti to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in January 2017.

Locomotives for the new Ethiopia to Djibouti electric railway system sit outside a train station on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Sept. 24, 2016,
Locomotives for the new Ethiopia to Djibouti electric railway system outside a train station on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Sept. 24, 2016

In early January 2017, the first train buzzed and made its way on the tracks of a $3.4 billion electric railway connecting Ethiopia and Djibouti and access to the Red Sea. The 750-kilometer (466 miles) line is expected to carry up to five million tons of goods per year with potentials to have massive impacts on the economies of both countries and the East African region at large.

At the official launch of the project, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said its importance cannot be overstated. 
"This project is like our blood vessels," according to statements to VOA, reported by Somali service reporter rode on the inaugural train. "The reason is because Ethiopia's outlet is through Djibouti. Therefore, this project determines if we can live or not live." 

The train projects are funded, to a large extent - about 70%, by loans from China's state-run EXIM Bank and built by China Railway Group and Chinese engineers.

Looking towards China, the arguments point to the dynamic nature of the understanding. China's loans have conditions that are different from most credit structures in the West. The Chinese official statement is "...Chinese loans closely fit a country's ability to repay" (Brautigam 2009, p. 185).  

If repayment in economic capital is not possible, China accepts (African) natural resources at market prices as a viable repayment solution (Carmody, 2011).  For instance, Ethiopia was able to pay back its Exim Bank loans in sesame seed exports (Brautigam, 2009).  

Oil collateral is directly utilized to finance credit. Therefore, the IMF's "static" credit systems and China's "dynamic sustainability" approaches to loan financing exercise a diverse range of options to support repayment (Brautigam, 2009). These conditions recognize the context of recipients and prioritize repayment rather than creating eternal debt. (Citations from Humphrey Public Affairs Review).

China also loves to fly its flag on projects it funds, including on state-owned buildings. So Chinese presence or benevolence cannot be missed.

Aspiration 1: A Prosperous Africa based on inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development. Goal 2: Well Educated Citizens and Skills revolution underpinned by Science, Technology and Innovation.

 The African Capacity Deficiency Syndrome
Need to develop Africa's human and social capital 

"The time to accelerate capacity building is now or never. The continent does not have the luxury to waste time anymorePhelekezela Mphoko."  Vice-President , Zimbabwe

Mr. Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary of ACBF

"Africa's skill gap is preventing the continent from achieving its optimum economic growth" the Pan African think tank, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), said on November 13, 2014. 

The Executive Secretary ACBF, Mr. Emmanuel Nnadozie, told China Xinhua News in Nairobi, Kenya, that there is a shortage of human capacity in the areas required to accelerate economic growth. The Alarm Bell on the deficiency of skilled African expertise was rang - or presented to the AU Executive Council in 2015 by ACBF.

The foresight was noted in the AU Executive Council Decisions to include AU citizens in the Diaspora as internal solutions to the shortage of expertise. The directive expressly liked Migration and Development with a call for full representation of AU citizens in the Diaspora in the AU Economic, Social, Cultural Council and systemic inclusion in AU programs.
EX.CL/277 (IX)     EX.CL/Dec.305 (IX)


                                                READ IN ENGLISH AND FRENCH.

In a year dedicated to harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth, Africa must rededicate and redouble efforts to create economic opportunities and market-driven approach to education and training, including technical and vocational skills programs to respond to market demand. The focus should also shift from low-productivity subsistence work to more productive activities in modern manufacturing and services.

The African Union has unveiled the Continental Education Strategy 2016-2025 (CESA 16-25), which also addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goal in Education (SDG Goal 4).  
CESA is driven by the need for a transformed and integrated education system geared towards the development of knowledge, skill and values that address African problem and development while competitive in the 21st century global market.  

In January 2016, the AU announced in a press briefing by the then AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr Martial De-Paul Ikounga, that the strategy moves away from perspectives and minimalist goals that focus on just human empowerment to creating enabling conditions that help individuals and nations to address crucial developments and realize their fullest potential. Content and performance standards - what students learn and are able to do in light of productivity -  are crucial in the school reform.

It may be helpful for educators and teachers to have ongoing professional development training on CESA.  EnglishFrench

Money 2

Agenda 2063 Aspiration 7: An Africa as A Strong, United, Resilient and Influential Global Player and Partner. Goal 20: Africa takes full responsibility for financing her development: 

The Priorities are: African Capital market; Fiscal system and Public Sector Revenues; Development Assistance (reduction). 

Africa's quest for sustainable and self-reliant development is at-risk when Africa cannot find its way out of the financial dependency trap. 

A prerequisite for self-mastery is for Africa to create the necessary policy space in order to determine her development. Domestic Resource Mobilization (DMR) offers the advantages of greater domestic policy ownership and better coherence with domestic developments that are not compromised by the disadvantages associated with Foreign Direct Investment, foreign aid or conditional aid, which are  tied to the objectives or interests of  foreign investors or donors.
Reflecting the need for financial independence,  in July 2017, at its 27th Ordinary Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, the AU announced a plan on self-funding. Then, foreign donors paid for 73 percent of the $781 million (708 million euro) budget. The plan adopted is to levy a new 0.2 percent tax on imports and use the funds to pay for the functioning of the AU. Rwanda's Finance, Minister Claver Gatete, said it could generate  as much as $1.2 billion (1.1 billion euros).

Diaspora Sovereign Bond (Diaspora Investment Fund) from AU citizens living in the Diaspora and leveraging Remittances are included in Goal 20. According to the African Development Bank, Africa could potentially raise USD $17 billion a year by using future remittances as collateral (African Economic Outlook: External financial flows and tax revenues for Africa: African AfDB, OECD, UNDP  2016.)

The official amount of remittances is acknowledged by researchers to be substantially less than the amount transmitted, including through informal sources that are not added in the official amount. Nevertheless, even the official amount exceeds the total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa by foreign donor countries: 

Here are some reckoning examples among many:

1. ECOWAS Diaspora has steadily become a major source of financing for development in West Africa. Remittances have registered an annual average growth of 5% since 2005. From 2006, the amount have exceeded the total ODA to the 15 Member States in the region.

2. In December 2016, the official record of Nigerian Diaspora remittance in 11 months rose to $35 billion USD. 

3. The Kenyan government acknowledges that "due to the huge sums involved, remittances are now being recognized as an important contributor to the country's growth and development.

4. About 40% of Somali families rely on remittances for basic needs such as food, housing, medication in a country where the official annual remittances of $1.3 USD billion is more that all foreign aid and investments in Somalia combined based on the study published by Adeso, Oxfam and the Inter-American Dialogue. In 2013, while on a visit in Britain, former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called on Somali Diaspora residents in the Diaspora to return home to rebuild their nation. In September 2016, he made the same appeal to Somali Diaspora residents in Minnesota, USA and noted Diaspora  industrialization developments in building  new infrastructures. .

5. In 2016, in briefing Members of Parliament about current issues and development in Ethiopia, one of the issues presented and discussed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was the involvement of Ethiopian Diaspora in the overall nation building process. Hence, he said, the government will do everything possible for Ethiopian Diaspora residents to actively take part in building their nation and maximize their development contribution in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) period.

"In the current era of intensifying global human and capital flows, Diaspora contribution to the development of their home countries is crucial. Nowhere is the role of Diaspora in sustaining local livelihoods and supporting national development as evident as in Africa." CitationIn line with convention, income is the flow of money that individuals receive from labor, government transfers, intrahouse hold transfers, or investments. Wealth or net worth, refers to the accumulated stock of savings, real estate, retirement  funds, stocks, bonds, and trust funds


It is an encouraging stride that the positions for public offices at the AU is not a coronation but vigorously contested. In the just concluded election for the Chairperson of the AU Commission, on December 9, 2016, the five candidates participated in the Mjadala Afrika Debate. Mjadala means Debate in Swahili. The candidates explained their visions for Africa as the top executive of Africa's apex institution. 
This is still relevant as H.E. Mahamat, in his acceptance speech, indicated that he will call and count on his former rivals to move Africa forward. 

The undecided elections in two Commissioner's races leave two vacancies: Economic Affairs and Human Resource Science and Technology. The Commissioners must be a male from the East and a female from Central for regional and gender balance.

On the Commissioners, it was a shake up. Only one incumbent,  H.E. Smail of Peace and Security, survived.

Open races where the incumbent did not contest:
  • Infrastructure and Energy: H.E. Amani from Egypt replaced term-limited Dr. Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim who is also a female from Egypt.
  • Rural Economy and Agriculture: The outgoing Commissioner Tumusiime Rhoda, from Uganda, was term limited. 
  • Political Affairs: Nigeria's Dr. Aisha Abdullahi chose not to run for reelection. 
  • Human Resource Science and Technology: Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, from Congo, opted not to contest for his seat. 
In the rest of the races, the incumbents did not prevail, except in Peace and Security as noted. 

*Term limited means the Commissioner had served two-terms, which means eight years. The position for the Deputy Chairperson was term-limited. 

Betrayal Fingered.
The Eastern Rift and Recrimination

  Betrayal Discussed
Betrayal Discussed

Jan. 31, 2017. Kenya's Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed speaks about the vote

Many theories have been brewing on why the results defied bets or assumptions. The collusion came with an "Et tu, Brute? You too, Brute moments.  For context, it is a metaphor for betrayal based on William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar who called out: "Et tu, Brute? to his longtime and trusted friend, Marcus Junius Brutus, prior to succumbing to the fatal stab inflicted by Brutus and co-conspirators in the Senate house.  

In this situation, Kenya trusted her East African Community compatriots to co-pilot H.E. Mohamed to victory. 

In her first interview after the vote, she  now wants Kenya's neighbors re-evaluated for jumping ship, as she believed they were in the same sail, during polls. The re-evaluation, she says, should establish why Kenya's neighbors, whom she did not name, decamped to vote for other candidates. However, she said some of the pledges made were "deceptive." 

"Things fell apart at the last round," she told journalists in Addis Ababa."I think the fear from some that maybe we were going to get it (led to this). So they probably withdrew their support."


H.E. Mohamed went further. She said Kenya should draw lessons from the loss. "Are we seen as a friend or a threat?" adding that "appearances are deceptive." "I think we are very honest people, so it is difficult to deal with deceptive people. Going forward, it is a good lesson to learn. "If we ever vied for a continental position, we have to take all that into consideration and probably pick someone who speaks more French than English for the office."

From the outset, the colonial tongue appeared to be the strength of the Francophone countries against the Anglophone. But Kenya's National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale also blamed civil society groups for bringing up the International Criminal Court (ICC) matter at the AU.

H.E. Mohamed attributed her loss on the two main languages spoken in Africa in this way: "Africa is divided along language lines even though the languages don't belong to us. Yet the authors of those languages do not fight among themselves," she told The Standard.

This reminds watchers of the AU unfolding on contest between incumbent AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping and H.E. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. At the height of the colonial language alliances, she described herself as a  Zulu - a not too subtle negation of the colonial bondage - or follies since they serve no African purpose.

The Stage

By most account, H.E. Amina Mohamed was billed as the lady to beat in the contest. The scars of the  suspended July 2016 race in Kigali, Rwanda, must have caused former Ugandan Vice-president, Dr. Specioza Kazibwe, to withdraw. This time, the star of the Southern candidate, Botswana's Foreign Minister, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who led in July, had dimmed. 

When the voting African Heads of State took their seats on the fateful day, good bets were calling a duel between Senegalese Diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily and H.E Amina Mohammed. H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chad's Foreign Minister and eventual winner, did not feature in the public radar. 
  • Round One: H.E. Mohamed bested the field with 16 votes against H.E. Moussa Mahamat, who had 14 votes. H.E. Pelonomi Vento-Moitoi and  Dr. Bathily each had 10 votes.
  • Round Two: H.E.  Mahamat took  the lead when he received 21 votes to H.E. Mohamed's 15 votes. Dr. Bathily and H.E Venson received 8 votes each. H.E Mba Mokuy, the Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea,  had two votes. 
The suspected East betrayal emerged with change of votes.
  • Round Three: Dr. Bathily lost five votes from the earlier round to both H.E. Mahamat and H.E. Mohamed. H.E. Mahamat added three more votes from the second round and H.E. Mohamed added two.  H.E. Mahamat got  24 votes against H.E. Mohamed's 17. 
Since none of the candidates received the required 2/3rd majority, after the third round, the rules kicked in. 

The candidates with the least votes fell by the wayside. H.E. Mahamat and H.E. Mohamed were left standing.
  • Round Four: H.E. Mohamed reclaimed the lead with 26 votes with H.E. Mahatma getting 25 votes. Three  Member States abstained. 
  • Round Five: Two of the Member States that abstained came back and gave a vote each to the contestants. 
In the next round,  three countries that had initially supported H.E. Mohamed withdrew their support.  

Then the plot thickened with a watertight scheming by Francophone countries, according to long time watchers of this language device. 
  • Round Six: Another  elimination stage. H.E. Mahatma jumped ahead when two countries switched their votes from H.E. Mohamed, which lead to her elimination from the race. Some indicated that Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania abstained. H.E. Mahatma 28: H.E. Mohamed 25.
It also became obvious that a regional alliance between West Africa and Central Africa in a horse trade on the Chairperson and the Deputy positions tilted the scale against H.E. Mohamed. 

Round Seven: This was basically a fait accompli, H.E. Mahatma won with 38 votes.

In this last round, countries from the Southern Africa Development Community that includes East Africa Community member - Tanzania  abstained in solidarity with H.E Mohamed after it became clear she had lost ground to the Chadian Foreign Minister.

Here is how an insider narrated one of the intrigues: "The evening before, on Sunday, Jan 29,  Morocco's King Mohammed VI hosted a dinner to "celebrate" the country's re-entry into family institution, some believed this event revealed the alliances. "When the Moroccans hosted the dinner, Mr. Mahamat, who was then a candidate, shared the table with Rabat's Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezoua. This threw reportedly us off balance because Chad's chief campaigner was from Algeria, which doesn't have a rosy relationship with Morocco. Given the  diplomatic surprise by Rabat, Kenya had to shift last minute energies to Chad," a lobbyist with intimate knowledge of the matter told The EastAfrica.

Rift and Recrimination in the East 

The question of the identities of the countries that switched their votes, which doomed the chances of H.E. Mohamed and why, have captured the fancy and frown of partisans and bystanders alike. There are publicly denials and accusations of lies telling. It was a secret ballot and unless a country abstained or indicates how it voted, the Eastern culprits are coy and elusive.

This much is known. As the finger pointing began, H.E. Mariam Ahmed Goumaneh, the Djiboutian Ambassador to Kenya, told the Nation on Tuesday that claims of her country voting for rivals were just negative comments by people bent on spoiling relations between the two countries. 

"The Republic of Djibouti would like to clarify that we share a cordial relationship based on mutual confidence, despite the outcome of the elections," she said. "The Republic of Djibouti supported the Kenyan candidature, and in addition, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, paid a courtesy call to the president of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, to express the support of our regional candidate."

Based on the East Africa publication, a top Ugandan diplomat summed up the Addis Ababa fiasco in this manner:  "The backstabbing is shaping into a nasty diplomatic tiff with Amina terming EAC countries as "deceptive".  "Are we seen as a friend or a threat?"  

In a novel triller account, Ugandan President Museveni was alledgedly spotted with a mischievous grin immediately after the vote.

Versions around the mills indicated that gender bias undermined CS Amina's candidature. Her closeness to President Uhuru Kenyatta was also cited as a disadvantage,  which is an odd reason since loyalty is heavily prized by the voting Heads of State when choose their own  Ministers. 

Some commentators point to Mr. Mahamat's status as an "AU insider," having worked in the  peace and security agency on Boko Haram and the Francophone-Anglophone tensions in general.  Mr. Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, an AU affairs analyst from Cameroon, said Mr. Mahamat had worked with the AU for a long time. 

"The new chairman has worked for AU on peace and security issues and also participated in the peace negotiations in South Sudan. He also played a role in developing AU's maritime strategy and played a key role in Chad's fight against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region. This gave him an upper hand," Mr. Ngalame said. He added that Francophone countries always worked as a team and this worked for Mr. Mahamat as opposed to Mrs. Mohamed who comes from English-speaking Africa. 

Another theory attributed the outcome to the incumbency of Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno who was the Chairperson of the African Union. 

For purposes to understand the unkind stab from the East, H.E.  Amina Mohamed has called for an "inquest" 

The election for the position of the Deputy Chairperson had three candidates with less drama. It took only two rounds. In fact, it would have ended in the first round, but the eventual winner, Ghana's  former Deputy Foreign Minister and diplomat Ambassador Quartey Thomas Kwesi, was shy of two votes to meet the 2/3rd majority requirement. During the second round, he won the election with 44 votes and receiving the most confidence from the AU membership.

Back to Addis Ababa

During his swearing in, H.E. Mahamat assured his former competitors that he would call and count on their compatriot support and active participation in the service of the African Union. When the Kenyan delegation conceded defeat, it was the first to offer its congratulations and support for the new AU chair, saying in a statement that the country would "work with (Mahamat) to defend the pan-African agenda of integration for Africa, as well as democracy, sovereignty and prosperity for all of its people".

The two top positions of the AU Commission  are now held by men. The new Chairperson of the  African Union Authority of the Heads of Government is H.E. Alpha Condé, the President of Guinea, also a male.  There are murmurs that may find vocal outlets with  fears that women agenda, which H.E. Dlamini-Zuma, the outgoing Chairperson of the AU Commission, championed with zest and vigor, may take backseat.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson and Chairperson of ECOWAS is the only woman standing. The first  elected female head of state in Africa is stepping down at the end of her second term, as required by the country's constitution. It is a call for more women to run for public offices across Africa - nationally, regionally and for  AU's top posts.


From respondents around the globe, questions were asked to identify which candidates in the 8 Commissioners' races best reflected their idea of contest, discourse and outcome. To be correct, not all the candidates were active or even known.  68% of 1823 respondents chose the  race for Peace and Security as the most credible process and H.E. Chergui Smail from Algeria and Nigeria's Fatima Mohammed as the most admired contestants. Read the twitter exchanges between them, after the article on Mrs. Fatima Mohammed.

Variations of headlines have captured the endearing qualities, from:How to lose gracefully! Fatima Mohammed congratulates Smail Chergui after losing AU Commission election to Losing like a Champion.

The AU Citizen Dispatch is republishing an article from Woman.

There Is Something To Learn From Fatimah Kyari Mohammed On Losing Like A Winner.

Fatimah Kyari Mohammed, Nigeria's candidate for the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security has shown that one can lose to another without being bitter about it.

Fatima Kyari Mohammed is a peace advocate and development consultant. She is a senior expert with West Africa Conflict and Security (WACAS). She is also co-founder and coordinator of the LikeMinds Project, Nigeria.

Fatima lost to Algerian incumbent commissioner, Smail Chergui and still congratulated him on twitter.

Smail Chergui beat Fatima at the 28th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, thereby retaining his position as the commissioner.

She also took to her Facebook page to correct the notion that she won with the assurance of working together with him to building a prosperous and peaceful continent.

She said:
Contrary to various media reports and information being circulated on social media, Nigeria lost its bid for the position of Commissioner for Peace and Security, #AU Commission to the incumbent Smail Chergui of Algeria. We wish him the best and we shall continue to work together towards building a prosperous and peaceful continent. Elections #AfricanUnion

The Tweets
In chronological order:
January 30

Amb. Smail Chergui @AU_Chergui 
Amb. Smail Chergui Retweeted Fatima K. Mohammed
Thank u, my Sister. Your love &vision for our dear continent & enthusiasm to serve are inspiring & praiseworthy. Well done & remain blessed.

Fatima K. Mohammed @FKMohammed1
@AU_Chergui The humility and honor is mine. All the best.

Amb. Smail Chergui @AU_Chergui
@FKMohammed1 Thank you, my dear Sister, for your kind and gracious words. I am humbled and honored.

Fatima K. Mohammed @FKMohammed1 
Congratulations to my brother @AU_Chergui of Algeria 4 his re-election as Commissioner, Peace & Security #Elections #28thAUSummit #1Africa 
 Amb. Smail Chergui @AU_Chergui Jan 29
In @RFI interview, my sister Fatima & I explain why each of us would like to be the next @AU_PSD Commissioner :

Below, H.E. Chergui Smail graciously thanked his staff
I thank all staff for your hard work. My re-election is a vote of confidence in the work we are all doing together: Comm.

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