The Kenyan government has floated Ambassador Amina Mohamed, its Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to contest for the African Union chairmanship.
The development follows the failure of the AU to find a suitable replacement for Nkosazana Zuma, whose term ended in July this year but was extended to January to allow for the election of a substantive chairperson.
Previously, the failed candidates included Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe of Uganda and the foreign ministers of Botswana and Equatorial Guinea, Dr Pelonomi Venson Moitoi and Mr Agapito Mba Mokuy, respectively.
One of the three was supposed to be endorsed at the 27th AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Kigali in July, but none of them prevailed, forcing the continental body to put off the election till January 2017.
‘Today, in recognition of our obligation and commitment to support the African agenda, I am proud to offer Dr. 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. In this regard, my administration submitted the candidature of Ambassador Amina Mohamed for consideration at the African Union Summit in January 2017. Dr. Amina Mohamed brings extraordinary experience and distinguished service at the national and international levels,’ Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote in a statement issued by the foreign ministry on October 3.
By press time it was not possible to establish the ramifications Ambassador Amina’s candidature would have on the East African region, given that Dr Kazibwe also hails from the same region and was the preferred candidate of the EAC and Horn of Africa countries.
A Kenyan of Somali origin who had previously held several high profile appointments, Amb Amina was appointed minister of foreign affairs by President Kenyatta in 2013. Currently, she is the President of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the next 4 years.
‘Given her track record, I am confident that Dr. 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,’ Mr Kenyatta added.