January 31, 2017 (JUB) -A high level diplomat in South Sudan claimed on Tuesday that neighbouring Kenya could not get a full support it requires from the leadership of the country to win the African Union chair due to difference between the team members.
Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed lost to Chad’s top diplomat Moussa Faki Mahamat after seven rounds of voting. Burundi, Uganda, Djibouti, and Sudan supported the second because of their interests or against Kenya.
According to a South Sudanese diplomat, Juba also had joined these East African countries that broke their pledges and supported the Chadian foreign minister of the central region at the expense of the candidate eastern region.
“It was indeed painful and diplomatic farce that Kenya could not get a full support from our team, even when the president had given his word on the candidacy of the Kenyan nominee,” a top diplomat told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday when asked to comment on why Kenya failed.
“The president needs to take corrective action because reflects negatively on the image of the country in which he is the chief diplomat,” he further said.
He said he personally felt the pain and diplomatic humiliation which Kenyan government and its delegation could not come with it, claiming there were actual tears shed by the Kenyan delegation when it became clear that Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed would not become Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
“I saw how President Uhuru Kenyatta hurriedly left the African Union headquarters before the results were announced. It was because he did not want diplomatic embarrassment but because of foreign relations, he decided to leave behind his Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu to wish the new AU Chair Moussa Mahamat the very best in his new posting and express a willingness to work together toward reform”.
The Kenyan presidential spokesperson, according to the South Sudanese diplomat, had to put a brave diplomatic face on a bitter loss considering the effort the delegation headed by the president exerted during lobbying and before summit during which it had to send envoys to each and every member state of the African Union for support.
“We pledge to work with him to defend the pan-African agenda of integration for Africa, as well as democracy, sovereignty and prosperity for all of its people, said Manoah, spokesman of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta during the announcement of the result in favour of the Chadian candidate.
Several sources in Addis Ababa said Faki had the advantage of previously holding a senior position at the African Union, as had previously chaired the AU’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council.
Observers went to point to the strong economic and political cooperation among the countries of the Central and Western regions in Africa symbolised by use of one currency CFA Franc, the use of French language, and the fight against terrorism. While the Eastern region is marred by divisions and political instability with poor relations with the Southern region or Northern regions.
However, another South Sudanese official disputed the claim of the split vote, claiming the actual reason for which Kenya failed to win the vote was that countries like Uganda and Burundi did not support Kenya’s bid for the post during the final vote.
"I don’t think this allegation is true because I know that our team cooperated well and tried to rally behind the word of the president. He pledged his support to Kenyan candidate which we did during the lobbying. There were countries which we asked to wait for other opportunities and to stand with the Kenyan government, its delegation and their president to support their candidate. What I know is that Uganda and Burundi failed to provide their support to Kenya in the final vote," said an official who accompanied President Salva Kiir to African Union summit.
He explained Kenyan candidate Amina Mohamed made it in the first three rounds of voting which left her and Mohamat standing but ended up losing to him in the second and final round by three votes with one abstention: 28-25.
The seventh vote provided the Chadian candidate with the opportunity to garner the two-thirds majority required to be officially winner and he got 38 votes after South African Development Community decided to abandon the race for west and eastern African countries.