Final tally shows EA candidates performed poorly in AU polls

Thursday February 2 2017

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed briefs journalists in Addis Ababa on January 31, 2017. PHOTO | AGGREY MUTAMBO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Candidates from the Eastern Africa region performed poorly in the African Union Commission elections conducted on Monday this week.

The final tally of the new officials shows just one victory, for Sudan, despite Kenya, Djibouti, Burundi and Sudan contesting in various posts.

Amira Mohammed Elfadil, Sudan’s minister for social affairs, will now be commissioner for social affairs to replace Sierra Leone’s Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko.

On Monday, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs minister Amina Mohamed lost to Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat as the new African Union Commission chairperson. He will take over from South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from April.

Ms Mohamed had hinted at an eleventh-hour betrayal from Kenya’s neighbours, which she did not identify. But it looks like the very self-interests served the region with defeats.

As a norm, the eastern Africa region was entitled two posts for commissioners, since it neither produced the chairperson nor the deputy.

Djibouti had a candidate for deputy commission chairperson in Yacin Elmi Bouh, the current interior minister of the Horn of Africa country.

He lost out to Ghana’s Thomas Kwesi Quertey. Mr Qwertey, a former Deputy Foreign Minister of Ghana, will take over from Kenya’s Erastus Mwencha.

Djibouti had also contested for Commissioner of Political Affairs, a fairly influential position within the AU secretariat. But Ms Hawa Ahmed Youssouf lost out to Burkina Faso’s candidate, Ms Minata Cessouma Samate. She will replace Nigeria’s Aisha Abdullahi.

Algeria’s Smail Chergui retained his seat as Commissioner for Peace and Security. But it meant a defeat for Burundi’s Ephiphanie Kabushemeye. Ms Kabushemeye is the current civilian Chief of Staff for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

Kenya had initially fronted Mahboub Maalim for the position of Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. Mr Maalim is the current Executive Secretary for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), an eight-member regional bloc in eastern Africa. While his campaigns fizzled out for Ms Mohamed, the Igad chief did not formally withdraw his candidature.

Even then, he lost to Egypt’s Amani Abou-Zeid. Ms Aboud-Zeid is due to replace her compatriot Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, who had served two terms since 2008.

Of the eight commissioners, the African Union failed to elect commissioners for Economic Affairs and that of Human Resources, Science and Technology.

The region has been holding the position of Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture. But Ms Rhoda Peace Tumusiime of Uganda was ineligible for re-election after serving two terms in this position.


  • Chairperson - Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, replaces Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa.
  • Deputy Chairperson - Mr Thomas Kwesi Quartey (Ghana) replaces Erastus Mwencha (Kenya)
  • Commissioner for Peace and Security-Mr Smail Chergui (Algeria). He retained his seat.
  • Commissioner for Political Affairs- Ms Minata Cessouma Samate (Burkina Faso), she replaces Aisha Abdullahi (Nigeria).
  • Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy- Ms Amani Abou-Zeid (Egypt). She replaces compatriot Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim
  • Commissioner for Social Affairs- Ms Amira Mohammed Elfadil (Sudan), replaces Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko (Sierra Leone).
  • Commissioner for Trade and Industry- Mr Albert M Muchanga of Zambia replaces Fatima Haram Acyl of Chad.
  • Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture- Ms Correa Leonel Josefa of Angola replaces Uganda’s Rhoda Peace Tumusiime.
  • Commissioner for Economic Affairs- Undecided. Incumbent Anthony Mothae Maruping (who is eligible for re-election) will continue to serve in the interim.
  • Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology- Undecided. Current occupant Martial De-Paul Ikounga of Congo will continue to serve in the meantime. He is also eligible for reappointment.