|Jammeh speaking to journalists: Pix - Statehouse|
The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh express dismay at the African Union’s failure to elect a new Commissioner of the African Union Commission (AUC) to serve a four-year term of office.
Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) met at the 18th Ordinary Session of the AU Summit at the new Conference Center of the Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 29-30, 2012, on the theme “Boosting Intra-African Trade”.
African leaders failed to elect a Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) to replace the Gabon-born Jean Ping and a deputy chairperson of the AU Commission alongside that of the eight Commissioners.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ping’s mandate has been extended until the next AU Summit.
The decision followed long debate as none of the candidates for the chairmanship could obtain the 2/3 votes as stipulated in the AU constitution. A law President Jammeh called “stupid” and “meant to embarrass Africans”
“We have this law which was created from outside because it is only the African Union which has this law that says a candidate must have two-thirds majority. This was put there deliberately to create the type of embarrassing situations giving our detractors the justification to say we are incapable of managing our affairs,” Jammeh told local media shortly after disembarking from the airplane that has brought him from the summit.
He recalled a similar situation occurred during an AU summit in Lusaka, Zambia in 2004, where they had to vote 12 times before one of the candidates decided to withdraw from the race.
|AU Chairperson Jean Ping is seeking 2nd term|
“I told them in Zambia; it created tensions and we had to spend almost about seven hours arguing about it; everybody went home very angry. So just voting for the then secretary general of the AU as it was called took so much time that we could not talk about countries that were in conflict,” Jammeh said.
He explains that this time in Addis Ababa, they voted and by the third round, the South African candidate withdrew because that is what the statues say. “Then we had to bring ballot boxes again to vote for the one who is leading, and he had 32 votes just four votes short of the majority, they say the chairman should cancel the election and the incumbent chairperson would step down and his deputy would take over. But according to the statues that they want to respect, his term ends only in April and so why illegally terminating his term because of an unintelligent election law,” Jammeh laments
According to him, there are two things that cannot be amended, the Holy Qur’an and the Bible “because these are the words of God”.
For now, the AU resolved that an ad-hoc committee be set up as soon as possible to look into the election matter ahead of the next AU summit scheduled for June 2012 in Malawi. The ad-hoc committee is expected to meet in March 2012.
However, Jammeh reduce this decision to a “coffee-drinking” initiative.
Author: Modou S. Joof