Shuttle diplomacy fails to woo African leaders as Amina Mohamed loses to Chad's Mahamat for AUC Chair

Faki Mahamat now replaces South Africa's Dlamini-Zuma as African Union Commission Chairperson.

Kenya's foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed on Monday lost to her Chad counterpart Moussa Faki Mahamat for the position of African Union Commission Chairperson.

Mahamat won by clinching 38 votes while Amb Mohamed garnered 26 votes after seven rounds of voting during the 28th AU Ordinary Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mahamat now replaces South Africa's Dlamini-Zuma’s whose tenure was extended last year in June by African heads of states and government after the elections to replace her in Kigali, Rwanda, were inconclusive.

The chairperson of the AUC is the Chief Executive Officer of the African Union and is also the chief accountant of the bloc and acts as the spokesperson of the organisation in relating with other bodies like the United Nations.

Others in the race for the AUC Chair were Senegal’s Dr Abdoulauye Bathily, Equatorial Guinea’s Mba Mokuy and Botswana’s Pelonomi Venson Moitoi.

President Kenyatta and his Deputy Ruto have in the past year been on a whirlwind tour across Africa as they wooed various heads of states and governments as they sought in a spirited shuttle diplomacy campaign aimed at wooing African countries to back Kenya’s bid for the AU chairmanship.

A core team of cabinet secretaries who included Education CS Fred Matiang'i, Environment and Natural Resources CS Prof Judi Wakhungu, Defence CS Raychelle Omamo and Tourism CS Najib Balala had been set up to lobby for Amb. Mohamed's candidature.

The loss will come as a blow for Kenya and in particular President Kenyatta's administration who had given their all towards pushing for Kenya's own to head a powerful continental organ - a first of sorts for the country.

CS Matiang’i later said that the government had reached out to 51 out of the 53 AU member states.

At the same time, Guinean President Alpha Conde has was elected African Union chairperson succeeding Chadian President Idris Deby.

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