Why Kenya is fighting hard to put Amina Mohamed at the helm of Africa Union
Kenya has gone all out in its bid to have Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed elected to head the Africa Union Commission.
Pundits in diplomatic circles say the country’s push to have Ms Mohamed at the helm of AU has much to do with the ripple effect of the now collapsed International Criminal Court (ICC) charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
According to Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, Ms Mohamed had proved a strong force in arguing Kenya’s case at the ICC.
“Because of the ICC case, the Uhuruto government kicked off a strong Pan African agenda and Ms Amina pursued the goal expertly and with major successes. If elected the chairperson of the AU Commission, she will be some sort of a foreign minister for Africa, this will give Kenya good visibility and attract foreign investment,” said Mr Murungi.
Murungi said Amina had the best credentials to restore Africa’s dignity after her achievements at the ICC, which now faces mass withdrawal by a number of states
Prof Macharia Munene, a History lecturer at the University States International University – Africa (USIU-A), said Amina was the most competent and qualified candidate to push the African agenda.
“Being at the helm of AU, Kenya gets the feel-good factor but is also sure its interests will not be hurt,” says Prof Munene, who gave Amina between 45 and 55 per cent chance of getting elected.
He said the fact that Kenya had proposed the foreign secretary at a point where there was a stalemate on the chairperson’s election had driven a forceful campaign for her election.
Kenya has argued that being a foreign secretary, she will hit the ground running in addressing the most pressing issues in the continent including terrorism, war and post-election conflicts.
Her experience in World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations as the chair of the ministerial conference will allow her to build Africa’s voice in multilateral trade negotiations and agreements.
Foreign affairs Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed speaks during United Nations Conference on Trade and Development conference at KICC in July 2016. (Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard)
Kenya further argues that Amina’s intimate knowledge of the International Criminal Court will make Africa to be treated with more respect by the global court.
A former deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment programme, Amina was a steady guide for Africa in the signing of climate change agreements.
This is the first time since independence that Kenya has gone all-out to try and place one of its own at the helm of African states.
According to Blaine Harden in Africa: Dispatches From a Fragile Continent, former presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki largely pursued a domestic agenda, paying little attention attention to Pan Africanism.
This enabled Kenya to outpace her peers in the first three decades of independence while remaining internally stable – the island of peace in a troubled region.
Peter Kagwanja, a political strategist and chief executive of Africa Policy Institute, says Ms Amina’s contention for the AU top post fitted well with a pre-election pledge by Uhuru to consolidate Kenya’s position in the African continent.
“Kenya is a superpower in Africa. It has to lead from the front and she (Amina) will raise the country’s flag at the continent and at the international level,” he said.
Prof Kagwanja said Kenya’s vision was to be a central pillar in shaping the future of Africa, and chairing the AU would be a fitting pedestal to do that.
Throwing its weight behind Amina, East African Business Council (EABC) cited her role in negotiating crucial trade deals.
EABC chairperson Audace Ndayizeye said the CS’s promotion of global trade had increased anti-retroviral medication for Africa through the intellectual property rights agreement and negotiations for the elimination of export subsidies.
While hoping that its diplomatic offensive that has seen it send emissaries all over Africa will bear fruit and clinch victory for Amina, Kenya is keeping its fingers crossed because of a number of factors.
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 East African Community (EAC) Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) or Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS).
Another factor is that Kenya has relatively senior representation at the AU, with Erastus Mwencha as one of the deputy chairpersons. The career diplomat from Kisii was for a long period the secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
For a brief period between the exit of Jean Ping and the ascendancy of Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma, Mr Mwencha acted as AU’s chair.
Amina will be facing off with Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily, Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad, Agapito Mba Mokuy from Equatorial Guinea and Botswana’s Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
Source: The Standard
Amb. Amina Mohamed says she’s ready to build the African dream
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has urged Africa’s Heads of State and Governments to support her bid for the position of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission during their consideration at the African Union Summit later in January.
The Cabinet Secretary vowed to deploy her professional and managerial competencies, experience, and wide range of networks to give traction to the African-agenda when elected.
Since she was nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta, a campaign team, supported by the East African Community countries, has visited more than 40 countries in Africa and met Heads of State and Government, Ministers, diplomats, members of the business community and Africans, young and old.
She urged the continent to grant her the opportunity to serve and contribute to the realisation of the Africa’s prosperity, growth and sustainable peace and stability.
“As I traversed the continent, I have encountered the genuine spirit of our people, their generosity, warmth, kindness, resilience and optimism. While this beauty and diversity is so endearing, our people are unable to experience its depth due to shortage of links to aid movement of people, goods, services and capital,” Mohammed noted.
Mohammed has backing from 19 Comesa countries.
“Today, the possibilities of Africa’s growth and prosperity are real. We represent the world’s second fastest growing consumer market with a rapidly growing labour and market base. We are a global hub of innovation, entrepreneurial talent and creativity,” she stressed.
Deputy President William Ruto has been visiting western and northern African countries to seek support for Mohamed.
He has visited Chad, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. He is set to visit Mali and Nigeria.
Amina Mohamed Nominated for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC)
Statement by his excellency hon. Uhuru Kenyatta on the nomination of Amina Mohamed – 3.10.2016
In 2013, I appointed Ambassador Dr. Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Amb. Mohamed has steered our diplomatic engagement to greater heights. We have benefitted tremendously from regional and international engagements of national and continental significance.
Today, in recognition of our obligation and commitment to support the African agenda, I am proud to offer Amb. Amina Mohamed for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), a position currently held by Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa. In this regard, my administration has submitted the candidature of Amb. Mohamed for consideration at the African Union Summit in January 2017.
Amb. Mohamed brings extraordinary experience and distinguished service at the national and international levels.
Among the most significant achievements include being the first woman to lead the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya.
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She was elected President of UNCTAD 14 for the next 4 years, was the Chairperson of the historic WTO 10th Ministerial Conference – the top decision-making body of the WTO, and Co-Chairperson of the Ministerial segment of the first TICAD Summit held on our continent.
Amb. Mohamed is the first woman to have chaired the three most important bodies of the World Trade Organization; the Trade Policy Body, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Governing General Council of the WTO.
She was President of the Conference on Disarmament, and the first African and the first female Chairperson of the Council of the International Organisation for Migration. In addition, she served as a member of the Executive Bodies and Committees of the World Health Organization, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Intellectual Property Organisation and the U.N. Programme on HIV and AIDS. Cumulatively, these assignments have earned Kenya and Amb. Mohamed international acclaim and respect.
In 2008-2011 at the height of our country’s legal, institutional and constitutional review process, Amb. Mohamed was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, charged with the responsibility of the Constitutional Review and implementation process. She Chaired the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector reforms (GJLOS), a cross-institutional programme which carried out broad reforms at a time of great change in our country.
In 2010, Amb. Mohamed was elected President of the U.N. International Conference on Transnational Crime in Vienna, Austria for a two year period. In 2011, she was appointed by the UN Secretary General as U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). During her tenure UNEP was upgraded from a 58- member Governing Body to the U.N. Environment Assembly, encompassing all members of the United Nations.
Given her track record, I am confident that Amb. Amina Mohamed will serve our Continent with the requisite professionalism, intellect, skill, integrity, passion and commitment. I have no doubt that her international experience and exposure will be an invaluable asset in driving African Commission in the achievement of Africa`s immense potential.
We hope and look forward to working together with our brothers and sisters on the continent to gain their full support for this candidature which, I believe strongly, will add great value to Africa’s future prospects.
———End of Statement———
Amb. Amina Mohamed Biography
Born on 5 October 1961, Ambassador Amina Mohamed,CBS, CAV, EGH, is a committed international civil servant who has a distinguished career in positions of leadership in both public and foreign service. She is the first African to be the chair of the global trade round at the 10th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya one of the most successful conferences so far.
Besides being the first woman to have held the position of Foreign Minister(Cabinet Secretary) of Kenya, she was the first woman to have chaired the governing General Council of the World Trade Organization, the Dispute Settlement Body, the International Organization for Migration as well as President of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime.
Amb. Amina Mohamed graduated with a LLM in International Law from Kiev State University, and has also undertaken post graduate studies at University of Oxford and the Kenya School of Law. She is fluent in English, Russian, Swahili and has a working knowledge of French.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is a former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme at Nairobi.
Amina Mohamed is a former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs and former Ambassador of Kenya to the United Nations at Geneva.
Amb. Amina Mohamed is a lawyer and diplomat by profession and has served in the public service since 1985. Amina Mohamed has served in the Ministries of Local Government, Foreign Affairs and Justice.
On war against al shabab and discrimination on ethnic somalis
She rubbished reports that suggested that ethnic somalis living in Kenya are being increasingly targeted, detained and tortured.
On the issue of Kenyan government repatriating somali refugees some of whom have lived in the Dadaab camp for almost 25 years. She said that there was no obligation that the Kenyan government was violating since there was a tripartite agreement (with UNHCR, Kenyan govenment and Somali government) that was entered into in 2013. She said that the international community has failed to fulfill its own obligation to address the residents of Dadaab.
On the allegation that Kenya was the third most corrupt country in the world. She said that it was an issue the government and is being ‘self reflective’about and dealing with. She however denied a statement released by Kenya,s auditor general that about $2 bn in public funds had gone missing.
Amina Mohamed Education Background
Student at the University of Oxford, Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations.
Undergraduate student at the Kenya School of Law, second Degree in law (LLM degree)
Graduate student at the University of Kiev, Ukraine; Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law
Undergraduate student at the University of Kiev, Ukraine , Degree in Law.
Secondary school student of Highlands Academy.
Secondary school student of Butere Girls
Primary school student at Township Primary School of Kakamega.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed was sworn in as Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on May 20, 2013.
Amina Mohamed Profile
Amb. Amina Mohamed is a committed International civil servant who has had a distinguished career both in Kenya and internationally. She has risen through the ranks in Kenya’s diplomatic service to the level of Ambassador/Permanent Representative. During her tenure in Geneva from 2000-2006 she registered many achievements.
For instance she was the first woman to chair the General Council of the World Trade Organization as well as the first African and first woman to Chair the Council for the International Organization for Migration. She undoubtedly brought to her position as ambassador some excellent analytical and interpersonal skills which she developed during the course of her
career in the multilateral arena.
Her admirable negotiation skills served her well and she effectively articulated global issues pertaining to the WTO. Above all, she was a tireless team player which was evident during lengthy drafting sessions and while dealing with sensitive International Agreements.
Upon the expiry of her tenure abroad 2006, Amb. Amina served the government of Kenya as Director for Europe and the Commonwealth Division as well as Director for Diaspora Affairs in the Foreign Ministry. In 2008, she again distinguished herself as Kenya’s Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs.
During her tenure as Permanent Secretary, she played a critical role through exceptional leadership to fast-track important political, legal and constitutional reforms. Amb. Amina is an excellent strategist and visionary. She anticipates the management needs of every organization in which she works. With her profound knowledge of the WTO and her unique
diplomatic and managerial skills, Ambassador Amina Mohamed has what it takes to competently guide the agenda of the WTO.
Born on 5 October 1961, Amina Mohamed graduated with a LLM in International Law from Kiev State University, and has also undertaken post graduate studies at University of Oxford and the Kenya School of Law. She is fluent in English, Russian, Swahili and has a working knowledge of French.
Amb. Amina Mohamed – Expertise in Public Sector management and Institutional Reform
Ambassador Amina Mohamed will be remembered for her contribution as chair of the Task-Force on the restructuring, reforming and rationalizing of Kenya’s Foreign Service and the conduct of its Missions abroad. The recommendations of the said team are credited with Kenya’s Foreign Trade Policy which refocused the Ministry’s operations towards economic and commercial diplomacy.
As Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, Amina Mohamed is equally credited with personally guiding the negotiation and drafting of critical legislations such as the national referendum law which preceded the promulgation of the country’s new Constitution in 2010. Amina Mohamed also spearheaded passage of crucial laws relating to institutional reforms which govern the conduct of national elections, ethics and integrity in the public service, as well as access to justice and the policy on national cohesion.
In the United Nations Environment Programme Ambassador Amina Mohamed has made significant contributions to the implementation of UNEP’s Medium Term Strategy and related Programmes including the on-going reforms. More recently she has been actively engaged with the intergovernmental processes for the implementation of the RIO+20 outcomes including support for efforts to enhance UNEP’s funding base. She has been keen on efforts to enhancing the capacity of UNEP particularly on advocacy for additional resources to undertake agreed programmes including advocacy for universal membership for the UNEP’s Governing Council.
Amb. Amina Mohamed – Legal Practitioner
Through her experience in the multilateral arena the candidate is best remembered for sound legal advice during Kenya’s tenure as a Non-Permanent Member of The United Nations Security Council (UNSC). During the WTO negotiations, particularly in the run-up to the Doha trade talks, Amb. Amina greatly contributed to the texts that led to successful negotiations.
Amb. Amina Mohamed – A motivated and result-oriented Leader
Throughout her career, Ambassador Amina Mohamed has distinguished herself as an inspiring leader not only through her strength of personality but also through solid leadership and commitment to the cause. During her assignments her colleagues remember her shining negotiations skills which were evident when she chaired three key WTO bodies namely: the Dispute Settlement Body, the Trade Policy Review Body and the General Council. As Chair of the General Council she provided unparalleled stewardship in both the preparations and the actual negotiations for the 2005 Hong
Kong Ministerial Conference.
This period is remembered for substantial progress made on Doha Development Agenda including the successful negotiations culminating in the LDC’s waiver on market access as well as an agreement by WTO members to amend the TRIPS agreement to allow members without capacity to produce pharmaceutical products to import such drugs for addressing urgent public health concerns.
Amina Mohamed Job History
2013 to date: Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
2011-2013: United Nation’s Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, UNEP.
2010-2011: President of the United Nations Conference on Transnational Crime, Vienna.
2008-2011: Kenya’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs.
2006-2007: Director for Europe and Commonwealth Affairs as well as Director for Diaspora Affairs Chairman of the Task Force Sub-Committee on Strengthening and restructuring of the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs.
2000-2006: Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and other International Organizations based in Geneva.
1990-2000: Kenya’s Legal Advisor in various Missions abroad, including the 6th Committee of the United Nations.
1986-1990: Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Nairobi
Amina Mohamed Membership
- Chairman, Coordinator and Spokesperson for the African Group in the WTO, Human Right Commission.
- President of the Conference on Disarmament in 2002
- Chairperson for the International Organization for Migration in 2002
- Chairperson for the Trade Policy Review body in 2003
- Chairperson for the Dispute Settlement Body in 2004
- Chairperson for the General Council of the WTO in 2005.
- 2001–2005: Member of the Executive Boards and Committees of the WHO, UNHCR, WIPO, ILO, UNCTAD and UNAIDS.
Amb. Amina Mohamed Kenya – Honours & Awards
- National Award of Chief of Burning Spear (CBS).
- Cavaliere dell’Ordine Della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana
- Life Member, the Kenya Red Cross Society
- Member – The Life and Peace Institute International Advisory Council, Sweden
- Member – The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arctic
- Member- The Strathmore Law School Advisory Board, Kenya Education
- LLM University of Kiev and Kenya School of Law
- Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, Oxford University
- UNITAR Fellow
Mrs. Amina Mohamed Husband and Children
Amina Mohamed is married to Mr. Ahmed and has two children.
Amb. Amina Mohamed Kenya Contacts – Facebook and Twitter