By Waweru Titus
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed has on Monday (30/01/17) failed to clinch the African Union Commission (AUC)chairperson seat, after she was defeated by Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Mahamat emerged winner in a vote held at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
After seven rounds of voting, the Chadian foreign affairs minister defeated Kenya’s Mohamed and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily.
Two other hopefuls included, Botswana’s Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea.
President Uhuru Kenyatta left the African Union headquarters soon after the voting process, leaving the State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu to wish the new Chair the very best in his new job.
Kenya was the first to congratulate the newly-elected AU head.
“Kenya congratulates him on a race well won. We pledge to work with him to defend the pan-African agenda of integration for Africa, as well as democracy, sovereignty and prosperity for all of its people,” a statement by Kenya’s State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu indicated.
According to Esipisu, Mohamed’s candidacy marked the re-emergence of Kenya at the very heart of the pan-African project.
“Kenya is grateful for the strong campaign she ran, which put pan-African themes — of self-reliance, of sovereignty, of openness to trade — at its very heart,” read the statement.
Kenya’s blow comes after months of lobbying and shuttle diplomacy by the President and his Deputy William Ruto that saw them visit many African member states to push for Amina’s election to the top AU position.
According to reports, Uganda and Burundi did not align with Kenya in the deciding vote.
Ambassador Mohamed is expected to make a formal statement on the vote on Tuesday (31/01/17) when a vote on Morocco rejoining the African Union is also scheduled to take place.
The 56-year-old Mahamat succeeds South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the bloc of 54 states, who did not seek a second term in office after completing a four-year term.