By Amos Fofung
Staff members of the African Union, AU who group themselves under the umbrella association of the African Union Staff Association, have accused the leadership of the AU Commission of chronic cronyism and advert corruption.
In a bitter memo addressed to the commission’s chairman, and dated March 6, 2020, employees of the AU accused Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat of running a ‘cartel’ that recruits based on personal relationship and not competence.
They described his actions as “preoccupying” since they directly affect the continental institution.
Signed by the President of the Staff Association, Sabelo Mbokazi, the bitter memo stated that the Commission is now marred by moral ineptitude as superiors and senior staffers have no respect for the deontology and rules of recruitment.
“By and large the appointment is regarded by the staff as the manifestation of glaring cronyism and the total collapse of leadership which member states continue to underscore,” the memorandum read in part.
“The confirmation of ‘cronies’ without qualifications, without interviews and without following due recruitment processes” has turned the AU Commission into “a den without rules, characterized by arbitrary administrative decisions and impunity, which is manipulated by mafia characters…The staff cannot sit and watch [a] few individuals destroying and paralyzing the commission,” it added.
Expressing dismay over the Chairpersons’ attitude which they described as troubling and “clandestine”, the staff of the AU Commission lashed at Moussa Faki for picking and appointing individuals who do not possess the basic skills to carry out their functions.
The memo went on to outline more general problems with Moussa Faki’s leadership. “With you sitting at the helm of this organization, the rules have been indiscriminately flouted and chaos prevails both at the headquarters and regional offices. The staff indicated that the moral fiber has decayed under your watch.”
“The staff cannot sit and watch [a] few individuals destroying and paralysing the commission,” the memo said.
This is not the first time that people close to Faki have accused him and other senior leadership of corruption. In a November 2018 letter to the Ghanaian president his deputy, Thomas Kwesi-Quartey, accused Faki of nepotism for appointing an “old crony” to a plush ambassadorial post. This was “not good governance”, Kwesi-Qartey said.
In February 2018, a member of the AU’s advisory board on corruption resigned, claiming that no effort was being made to fight corruption at the heart of the organization.
The Mail and Guardian reports that, “in late 2018, a panel of inquiry was established by the AU to investigate allegations of sexual harassment within the organisation (these allegations were first revealed in a M&G investigation). The panel found that sexual harassment was rife within the organisation, but its findings went much further: it named at least 40 individuals who were implicated in serious allegations of fraud, corruption, nepotism, sexual assault and sexual harassment.”
The report regrets the fact that neither the full text of the report, nor the identities of the named individuals, have been publicly released.
There is yet to be any public statement from the AU chair regarding the accusation which continue to soil his reputation.
His spokesperson, Ebba Kalondo, said: “the chairperson has always engaged on organizational issues. In fact, he is the one who instituted the forensic audit currently under way in the organization, amid other actions.”
Recall that in September 2019, a tender was issued for a consulting firm to undertake a “forensic and performance audit” of the AU Commission.”