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Kenya nominates Amina Mohammed for top African Union Commission job

By Roselyne Obala | October 4th 2016
Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed . She has been nominated to contest the position of African Union (AU) Commission's chairperson. (PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/ STANDARD)

Kenya has nominated Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed to contest the position of African Union (AU) Commission's chairperson.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said they had forwarded Mohammed's name and exuded confidence she will carry the day in the January 2017 elections.

Uhuru, who spoke during a Youth Summit at State House in a session moderated by a Ms Amina Abdi said: "I happen to know of another Amina whose name we have submitted to be the next chairperson of the AU commission."

AU member States had until the end of September to formally nominate candidates for the position of chairperson and deputy chairperson.

Current AU Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to leave office but leaders were unable to agree on a successor during the 27th summit in Kigali, Rwanda in July.

The chairperson heads the executive arm of the continental body.

An attempt by members to pick Dlamini-Zuma's successor when the African heads of state and governments met in Kigali flopped.

Dlamini-Zuma's spokesman Jacob Enoh Eben noted there was no breakthrough, saying: "Commission elections postponed till next summit, black smoke billows from the 27th AU Summit as no winner emerges."

The vote failed to produce a two-thirds majority for any of the three candidates up for nomination.

It is believed 15 heads of State abstained from voting in the first round and 20 during the second round. Some said this was a "vote of no confidence" in all the candidates. 

Names of candidates will be circulated to member States by October 14 before the polls set for January 30 to 31 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

If elected, Mohammed will bring in vast experience, having worked for the UN and is currently a Cabinet Secretary in Kenya.

During her tenure, Kenya has been able to cut a niche in the international community as a destination for tourism and conferences.

She is also credited with lobbying the world to support Kenya's quest to have cases against the President and his deputy William Ruto at the Kenyatta on the International Criminal Court dropped.

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