AU leader Faki re-elected for second 4-year term: officials

By: AFP      Published: 10:27 PM, 6 Feb, 2021
AU leader Faki re-elected for second 4-year term: officials

The chairman of the African Union's executive body, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was re-elected for a second four-year term Saturday during a virtual summit of heads of state and government, AU officials said. 

"51 votes out of 55 member states voted for @AUC_MoussaFaki for a second term as Chairperson of the @_AfricanUnion Commission," spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said on Twitter, a result that was confirmed by a separate AU official.

Faki, a former prime minister of Chad, was running unopposed in the contest to head the restructured commission, though some member states had voiced concerns about voting online in the secret ballot.

On January 25 Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni wrote a letter to the AU leadership requesting that elections be postponed "for a period of one year or until such a time when the Assembly is in a position to hold a physical meeting to deal with AU Commission choices".

In the end, though, Faki's re-election bid went off with little resistance on the first day of a two-day summit that, in addition to internal elections, is expected to focus on the AU's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and conflicts across the continent. 

In another race, Nigerian Bankole Adeoye is favoured to head the AU's newly-merged political affairs and peace and security departments, diplomats say, though AU rules dividing top positions among Africa's sub-regions could lead to a surprise result.

Whoever wins could play a critical role, along with Faki, in addressing crises the AU is accused of overlooking.

A three-month-old conflict in the AU's host country Ethiopia, pitting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government against the former ruling party of the northern Tigray region, has proved especially sensitive.

Abiy has rejected appeals from high-level AU envoys for talks with Tigrayan leaders, sticking to his line that the conflict is a limited "law and order" operation.

"More than anyone, I am aware of the limitations the AU is facing in silencing the guns," Faki said in an interview with the Institute for Security Studies published this week.