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President Uhuru Kenyatta late on Wednesday met African leaders to drum up support for Amb Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s candidate for the post of chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The President met some 30 leaders on the margins of the COP22, the global climate change summit held in the Mediterranean city of Marrakech, Morocco.
Among the leaders were those from Nigeria, Gabon, Rwanda, Seychelles, the Comoros, Sudan, Senegal and Chad.
President Kenyatta was due to depart from Menara International Airport Marrakech early on Thursday for the 11-hour journey back home.
Special envoys of the President, including Deputy President William Ruto, have reached out directly to more than 35 countries on the President’s quest to build a consensus around the candidature of Ms Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
Candidates from Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Senegal and Botswana will also seek the chairperson’s post when elections are held at the next African Union summit in Ethiopia in January.
In making the case for Ms Mohamed, Kenya has argued that:
As a foreign minister of a pivotal East Africa and Horn of Africa nation, she will hit the ground running on the most pressing peace and security issues on the continent: terrorism civil wars post election conflict and stabilisation.
It also argues that her experience in World Trade Organization negotiations and as chair of the recent WTO Ministerial Conference will allow her to build Africa’s voice in multilateral trade negotiations and agreements.
Moreover, her intimate knowledge of the International Criminal Court as an institution and a process will allow Africa to be treated with more respect and understanding through her representations.
In addition, as a former Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment programme, she will be a steady guide for Africa as climate change agreements and actions are undertaken.
Somalia and Egypt have publicly said they will vote for Kenya, but in the complex AU voting system most countries are likely to take their cue from their regional groupings, such as the EAC, southern Africa’s SADC, or west Africa’s ECOWAS.
On Tuesday night, President Kenyatta addressed COP22, and urged the global community to stick to the Paris Agreement.