Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat has been elected the African Union Commission chairperson in tight race that was expected to be drawn out given the calibre of candidates and the regional interests at play.
Kenya’s Amina Mohamed and Senegalese Abdoulaye Bathily were considered strong candidates even before voting by African leaders at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa began. Mr Mahamat was seen as the surprise candidate who could easily snatch victory from the two favourites.
Mr Mahamat has had a long experience of political leadership and diplomacy even at the African Union.
He has previously served as the chair of the AU’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council.
The 56-year-old and father of five, who has been serving as the Sahellian nation’s Foreign Affairs Minister since 2008, was the country’s prime minister from June 2003 to February 2005.
He says he is a person of consensus and would tackle the issues that divide the AU, either based on regions, religion, culture or wealth.
Mr Mahamat says he is concerned about AU’s donor-dependency, which he terms a “scandal”.
Mr Mahamat believes that the organisation should cut down on unnecessary expenses otherwise it is likely to remain donor-dependent even when it marks 100 years in 2063.