The African Union (AU) Permanent Ambassador in the United States, Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao was told by the chairperson of the AU Commission this month that her services would no longer be needed.
Her sacking which takes effects from November 1, 2019 however sparked outrage from many Africans especially those in the diaspora.
Dr. Chihombori-Quao who was appointed to the position in December 2016 has been able to galvanize the support of peoples of African Descent in the U.S and beyond.
In a letter dated October 7, 2019 the chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat did not state the reason for sacking her.
On the back of her dismissal, some Africans in the diaspora launched a petition to get her reinstated.
Thousands of people have signed that petition signaling the overwhelming demand for her reinstatement.
The African Union hierarchy is yet to comment publicly on the controversy surrounding her sacking.
Demands for exiting
But in a letter sighted by Africa Feeds, Dr. Chihombori-Qua has laid out conditions for her exit.
In an internal memo written by her to the AU commission chair, she said “given that your excellency’s decision has been made abruptly and towards the end of my term and without prior notice; I am sure your office has made arrangements to pay salary of US$195,000 for the balance of my term (1st November 2019 to 28th February 2020).”
She demanded payment of her “3 months salary in lieu of notice of US$ 39,000 alongside my other separation benefits by 31 October 2019”.
Dr. Chihombori-Qua signaled in the letter that payment of these entitlements as well as ensuring that her “health benefits also continue for the next six months” are key to her handing over and exiting the position.
She warned of not being forced to “stand in the way of a smooth transition” and indicated that she would only accept her dismissal when she receives “written confirmation that the outstanding dues as well as my separation entitlements are ready.”
Support among Africans
On social media, many have spoken about her sacking.
The dismissal of Arikana Chihombori-Quao, AU Ambassador to the United States raises serious questions about the independence of the AU… pic.twitter.com/XaN93IwTx3
— Jerry John Rawlings (@officeofJJR) October 13, 2019
It’s a shame. This woman speaks truth to power. This is a voice that should not be silence.
— Kariuki Ngethe (@ngethe_kariuki) October 14, 2019
France and China must have a hand in this. How comes the incarnation of Kwame Nkruma and other great African heroes is sacked for standing tall for Africa. Re-instate @AmbChihombori. @CohenOnAfrica , @AUC_DPA @PaulKagame, @NAkufoAddo, @AJEnglish, @mehdirhasan, @PL0_Lumumba
— Peter N. Ndula (@peterndula) October 13, 2019
African Union, you are cowards.
— Ama Nawi Bookman (@CKHyppolite) October 15, 2019
Chihombori-Quao is very outspoken and has become a leading voice for Pan-Africanism across the world.
She has been heard on several occasions criticizing the west for maintaining neo-colonial policies that are meant to keep Africa poor.
In some media interviews she has called out countries like France that has been holding the national reserves of fourteen African countries since 1961.
Those countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The rest are Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.