The Kenyan government has called on Namibia to support its candidate for the position of chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs Amina Mohamed.
This is despite the Namibian Cabinet having earlier this year endorsed the southern African (SADC) region’s candidate Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is Botswana’s minister of foreign affairs.
Kenyan High Commissioner to Namibia Isaac Njenga, however, says this does not mean that his country is undermining Venson-Moitoi’s candidature, as the decision to support the candidacy of Mohamed was informed by a resolution taken at the last AU meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
“At the Kigali meeting, none of the candidates could get a two-thirds majority of the votes, as required for them to be elected as chairperson of the AUC,” Njenga told New Era yesterday.
“Our leaders in their great wisdom then decided that the process should be opened to any individual member to nominate their candidates for election. Some of the previous candidates fell out, while some remained like in our case.”
The top diplomatic job at the AU became vacant after South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the current chair, indicated that she would not seek re-election. “We are seeking Namibia’s support, as it has been a friend on whom we can always depend. We are in no way undermining Venson-Moitoi and all other candidates, but we are presenting our candidate,” Njenga said.
Namibian International Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah could not be reached for comment yesterday and questions sent to her were not answered at the time of going to print. According to her vision, as chairperson, and without losing focus of all the commitments of Agenda 2063, Mohamed would begin by prioritising certain trade and environmental programmes.
She notes that in addition to the 12 flagship projects cited as priorities in the execution of Agenda 2063, she would select other programmes that have the potential to meet to the urgent needs of the continent. These include industrialisation, trade and integration towards the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area by end of 2017, as well as climate change.
Mohamed also promises to focus on creating an integrated approach to the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to develop mechanisms for leveraging the unique strengthens of African countries, as well as building institutional capacity.
She is the serving chair of the 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, the president of the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and co-chair of the Ministerial Segment of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development Summit.
In his motivation – which was submitted as part of Mohamed’s nomination – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said he is confident that she will bring to the task the required level of “professionalism, intellect, skill, integrity, passion and commitment”.
“I have no doubt that her international experience and exposure will be an invaluable asset in driving the AUC in the achievement of Africa’s immense potential,” Kenyatta noted.