The Kenyan tax payers lost Kshs. 350 million in shuttle diplomacy campaigns mounted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto over a period of three months to drum up support for Foreign affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed to try and bag the African Union’s top job.
By Tuesday January 31st, 2017 morning details of the shock trouncing in Addis Ababa the previous day in the afternoon emerged as Kenyan diplomats came to terms with the loss to Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat after seven rounds of voting.
This is after an extensive campaign of three months that cost the country about Kshs. 350 million throughout the African continent led by President Kenyatta and his Deputy to West, North, South, East, Horn and Central African countries in their personal and official capacities to solicit support that never came.
The most critical question being, was it worth the effort and colossal financial wastage when the country is starving? How much amount of food would that kind of money have been used to buy? How many hundreds of thousands of starving families would have been saved from starvation?
How many children without fees would have been paid for secondary or university school fees with that kind of money? Can the executive justify to the Kenyan tax payer why all these millions had to be spent on a campaign that was doomed to fail? How will the government recover this loss? Even if Mohammed had won that post would this monies have been recovered and restored to the National Treasury coffers?
Reports from Addis Ababa indicate that a last-minute change of the agenda and the refusal by Uganda, Djibouti and Burundi to vote for Kenya on the fateful day were blamed for the defeat of Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Mohamed in the race to become chairperson of African Union Commission.
Interestingly President Kenyatta himself is on record travelling to Kampala to lobby his friend Yoweri Museveni to back Amina’s bid for the AU job including Djibouti whose failure to stand by Amina all the way clearly shows their un-reliability and treachery in their relations with Kenya.
Indeed President Kenyatta should have known Uganda’s treachery right from the time when his friend Museveni turned around on him concerning the construction of the Oil Pipeline from that country’s oilfields to Tanzania’s Dar-es-Salaam instead of Kenya’s Mombasa as had earlier been agreed.
With the defeat of Kenya’s Foreign affairs Cabinet Secretary, the Chadian foreign minister, who is reportedly quoted to have said he would take a bullet for the sake of Africa, became the fourth AUC chairperson from francophone Africa out of five heads since 2002.
Shortly after the vote, he said he did not have “a magic wand” to right the problems the AU is facing — such as shortage of funds and slow responses to crises — saying, instead, that he needed everyone on board to help bring the continent together.
Mr. Mahamat will be deputised by Thomas Kwesi Quartey of Ghana, which actually means the whole affair was an extremely expensive business that was a triple loss to the country since the outgoing chair Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s deputy was Kenyan Erastus Mwencha.
The parting question to this expensive dramatic theatrics is why President Kenyatta and his Deputy shun this man who was already in the system to push for his elevation to the top to succeed Zuma or instead support South Africa’s bid for continuity is their person had on her own opted then wait for another chance?
Reports from Addis Ababa indicate that the Chadian was declared the winner after garnering 38 votes in the seventh round and that fifteen countries from the southern Africa bloc, SADC, abstained because they wanted one of their own to take up the job to complete their expected two term tenure.
They indicate that the story of Kenya’s defeat started sometime in the afternoon of Monday January 30th, 2017 when Morocco, which had been lobbying to be accepted back in the AU family after three decades out, successfully argued for the debate about its readmission to be postponed.
That meant that the politics surrounding the race would not be mixed with Morocco’s application. Morocco had quit the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, after it admitted the Sahrawi Arab Republic as a member.
This time, however, the North African country had come back with a clear agenda, promising financial goodies to member states who would accept to kick Sahrawi out of the AU while at the same time allowing Rabat back.
It has indeed emerged that it was extremely important- the outcome of the Addis vote to Morocco that, the previous day on Sunday January 29th, 2017, the country’s foreign minister, Mr. Salaheddine Mezoua, hosted a dinner in honour of Mr. Mahamat, whom Rabat felt would dance to its tune if elected.
With Morocco’s readmission agenda out of the way, delegates had nothing much to do other than concentrate on lobbying and voting. The naked truth of the matter is that in the end, Kenya was let down by its neighbours in which President Kenyatta and his Deputy had put so much faith and trust.
The entire SADC region stayed away from the vote, perhaps in protest after their candidate from Botswana failed to make any progress in the preliminary rounds. SADC had argued they still deserved one more term because the current occupant from South Africa, Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, had chosen not to run for a second term.
Though Mohammed may have had the necessary qualifications and experience to occupy that office, what is clear is the fact that President Kenyatta and his Deputy went about the whole business in a very wrong way and that may explain why his closest friend in the East African Community Museveni chickened out on him at the last minute.