By Prince Kurupati
The former Chadian Prime Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat was recently reelected as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. In doing so, Moussa Faki made history as the first person to be reelected as the Chairperson of the AU Commission. Running unopposed, the former Chadian Prime Minister garnered 51 out of 55 votes in a secret ballot to enter into his second final term as the Chairperson of the AU Commission.
The AU Commission elections happened on Saturday 6 February 2021, during the 34th African Union Summit. Owing to the unprecedented corona virus pandemic, the 34th African Union Summit was held virtually with the leaders of all 55 member states as well as their foreign ministers/delegates present.
Moussa Faki’s reelection will see him serve as the AU Commission Chairperson for the next four years. Speaking on his triumph on Twitter, Faki said he was “deeply humbled by the overwhelming and historic vote of confidence by AU Member States by voting 51 out 55 to extend my mandate at the helm of the AUC Commission for another 4 years.”
During the same Summit, elections were also held for other AU Commission positions including the new set of commissioners and that of deputy chairperson. Rwanda’s Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa who is the deputy governor of the National Bank of Rwanda won the deputy chairperson race. In a Twitter post after her triumph, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa said, “My very sincere gratitude and appreciation for the trust and honor that the Heads of States and Government of the African Union have bestowed on my country and in my person. I commit to serve with dedication and to the best of my ability under your wise guidance.”
For Moussa Faki, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa and the new set of AU Commission commissioners, there really is no time to celebrate their victories as they have to come up with long-lasting solutions to the threats facing the entire African continent. They all know very well the devastating impacts that the novel corona virus pandemic has brought about on the continent disrupting lives and livelihoods. The current second wave of the pandemic which engulfs the continent is leaving behind lots of dead people. In the process, it’s also disrupting livelihoods for the survivors thus ushering in double jeopardy. There is of course the threat of an imminent 3rd wave which may as well be more devastating than the 1st and 2nd waves. Faced with all these challenges, Moussa Faki, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa have it all to do from the onset.
At the present moment, many countries across the globe are battling to secure Covid-19 vaccines. In the case of Africa however, several reports have indicated that the continent finds itself at the bottom of the ladder of a grossly unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Malcolm Webb of Al Jazeera states that “Experts estimate that the richest countries will have vaccinated most of their populations at some point later this year, and that the world’s poorest countries – many of which are in this continent (Africa) – will not vaccinate the same amount of their population until maybe three years from now or possible never at all.” Faced with such a dim outlook, Moussa Faki and his new team will have to work near-miracles to ensure the continent moves at par with other developed nations. The AU Chairperson knows himself the task ahead as he stated that “There is vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more that they require,” in an interview before the Summit. Against this background, Moussa Faki as he stated will have to come up with great strategies and initiatives to “correct the glaring inequality in fiscal stimulus measures between advanced economies and the rest of the world.”
It’s not just the threat of the corona virus pandemic that Moussa Faki has to worry about. The continent is still bedeviled by several conflicts which are hindering continental development on the socio-economic as well as political front. Instances of electoral violence are still reported in many countries across the continent while cases of abuse of human rights and Islamist extremism violence is on the rise. The new AU Commission team will therefore, need to find ways to bring these conflicts to an end. The frontrunner for the AU’s newly merged political affairs and peace and security department Bankole Adeoye from Nigeria will have the all-important task of coming up with measures to address the continent’s socio and political problems.
At the present moment, there are two socio-political problems which need urgent attention. Up north, the Anglophone Crises in Cameroon is showing no signs of coming to an end in the near future. However, the number of people who are dying, those disposed and those whose livelihoods have been affected by the crises is huge such that an urgent intervention is needed to prevent further damage. Down south, there is a rising security crises in northern Mozambique ushered in by Islamist extremists who are reported to kill mercilessly villagers in that region. The threat in the Mozambique poses a new threat in a region that constantly reels under electoral violence conflicts.
At the same Summit, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi assumed the year-long chairmanship of the African Union. Addressing fellow Heads of State, the DRC president said in his tenure as the AU Chair, he plans to focus on climate change, fighting sexual violence, promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area and accelerating the DRC based Grand Inga Hydropower Project.