The top hierarchy of the African Union Commission is reportedly divided over recent appointments, the Mail & Guardian in South Africa is reporting.
The deputy chairperson of the commission, Thomas Kwesi Quartey has accused his boss, Moussa Faki Mahamat of nepotism.
The Mail & Guardian reports that it has cited a letter written by Kwesi Quartey to Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo in which he accused Mahamat of appointing his “old crony” as AU Ambassador to Brussels.
Ahmat Awad Sakine is the Chadian diplomat, appointed as the AU’s permanent representative to the European Union in September 2017.
Quartey is from Ghana and that explains why he wrote the letter to the Ghanaian president. In the letter he stressed that the action of Mahamat was “not good governance”.
The Ghanaian diplomat was also nominated by the Ghanaian president for the deputy AU chairperson position.
What the letter said
The letter was dated November 6, 2018. Quartey in the letter criticised his boss Faki for failing to outline any “central organising idea” for his term as AU commission chair.
He claimed that all efforts to debate proposals for reforms within the commission have been “considered an intolerable affront”.
Kwesi-Quartey’s spokesperson, Doreen Appolus has since confirmed the details of the said letter.
She however explained that the letter was a confidential document and need not be published, Mail & Guardian reports.
The Mail & Guardian also reports that AU commission chair Faki declined to comment on the matter.
His spokesperson Ebba Kalondo was quoted as saying that “The writer of the letter is best placed to explain the allegations. The letter was not addressed to [Faki].”
Sexual harassment at the AU
Last year an internal investigation at the African Union revealed that women are often exploited sexually in exchange for jobs.
The report says most of the victims were female short-term employees, youth volunteers and female interns. Many of them are hoping to secure eventual job positions.
Kwesi-Quartey in his letter to the Ghanaian president also mentioned this issue saying ““Another problem I observed during our first six months in office was the low morale of staff, especially the female gender.
I noticed from complaints (now vindicated by the Independent Report on Sexual Harassment) that female staff were deliberately given short-term contracts (around three months), so that the renewal then would be a negotiation between unequal parties usually/generally involving sexual favours to have one’s contract extended.”
Source of the dispute?
The source of the clash is reportedly over who controls the hiring and firing of staff at the commission.
The role of hiring and firing technically is a duty to be performed by the deputy chairperson of the commission. But it is reported that the chair has allegedly taken over that role on several occasions.
There have been confirmations of this dispute between Quartey and Mahamat. Some within the AU commission are concerned about the detrimental impact on the work of the continental body.
Mail & Guardian quotes one staff as saying “You see the AU is not doing anything because the leadership is dead. Member states might as well be throwing their money away.”
Just last week there were reports of how the two leaders clashed at a ministerial-level Executive Council meeting.
According to Mail & Guardian reporting Faki allegedly attempted to pass a resolution that would have expanded his powers within the commission.
That failed because Kwesi-Quartey intervened with a source reportedly saying “The chair was so, so angry, you could see it on his face.”
It is not clear yet when these differences will be resolved but the longer it goes on, it appears to be impacting negatively on a body that is to coordinate the daily activities of the continental body.