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Why foreign minister Amina Mohamed is the best candidate to head AU

By Dr. Hanningtone Gaya | January 30th 2017
 Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.(Photo: Jenipher Wachie/Standard)

It is fitting to remind ourselves why we support Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to head the African Union Commission.

The original election in July 2016 in Rwanda aborted, with AU Summit holding that no candidate then present was capable to head the AU Commission.

Of the candidates vying in today's elections in Addis Ababa, only Ambassador Amina Mohamed is being fronted for the first time.

With the other candidates, still in the race, the question Africa should be posing is, what has changed, since Kigali, Rwanda, 2016?

The chair of the AU Commission has a lot of weight in setting the global agenda, including trade, good governance, institutionalising democracy, intra-African trade, peace and security. Which of the candidates has the most experience, global networks and acceptance, proven ability, passion, and loyalty to lead Africa, than Dr Amina?

Since 2002, when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) transformed into the AU, East Africa has been absent from the top echelons of the continental body. Yet, within this time, Kenya has remained committed to the African cause, including offering money, time, venues and logistics for numerous AU meetings and conferences, while involving African countries fully.

According to Monica Juma, the Principal Secretary in Foreign Affairs ministry and an accomplished diplomat in her own right, Kenya is well placed diplomatically to take up leadership of the continent.

Amina is a diplomat with a pleasant personality, a person capable of pushing the African agenda; a pragmatic and practical leader with networks spanning the entire globe.

In entering the race to lead the AU Commission, Amina is answering a call from African countries after the aborted elections in Rwanda.

One of Amina’s personal attributes is the building of consensus in key issues and a passion for inclusivity and consultation. As a pointer to this, she has visited nearly all countries in Africa and understands their concerns and challenges. She used these visits to ensure her acceptance across the continent.

Dr Juma concedes that her boss is endowed with an enviable skill set that includes working with the world's public and private businesses to build strong and smart partnerships.

According to the PS, Amina is a candidate who can unleash the potential of the continent's women while leveraging on the youth agenda.

As a country and a people, we must all rally behind Amina. We ought to know when the nation comes before our differences that may be informed by ethnic naivety or political differences.

Perhaps, as a guide, our futuristic leaders included patriotism as one of our national core values in the constitution.

The writer is the chairman of the media owners of Kenya and the immediate past chairman of brand Kenya.

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