Moussa Faki Mahamat: Profile Of The New African Union Chairperson #28thAUSummit

The African Union (AU) finally elected a new leader of its commission. Moussa Faki Mahamat won a close contest against his Kenyan counterpart, Amina Mohamed to emerge African Union Commission chairperson.

He takes over from South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and thus becomes the continent’s topmost diplomat. His victory means the top AU position moves to Central Africa from Southern Africa.

Here are a few facts worth knowing about the new AU chief

  • Moussa Faki Mahamat was until his election the Foreign Minister of Chad, a position he has held since April 2008.
  • He served as Prime Minister between June 2003 – February 2004, he stepped down amidst a civil service strike. Other portfolios he has held include Minister of Public Works and Transport (2002).
  • He attended university in Congo-Brazzaville where he studied public law. He went on exile after Hissen Habre took power in 1982. He returned from exile when Idris Deby Itno took power in 1991.
  • He was born in the country’s eastern town of Biltine and belongs to the same ethnic group as President Deby – the Zaghawa. He served as campaign manager for Idris Deby during the 2001 presidential elections.
  • He is fluent in three international languages, English, French and Arabic. He is married and has five children.
  • He becomes the fifth Chairperson of the Commission and the second Central African candidate. The first Central African was Gabon’s Jean Ping who served as AUC Chairperson between 2008 and 2012.

The African Union Commission (AUC) serves as the executive/administrative branch or secretariat of the AU (cast in the mould of the European Commission). It is headed by the Chairperson with the help of a number of Commissioners dealing with different areas of policy.

The Commission has its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It is a different entity from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (based in Banjul, The Gambia), which is a separate body that reports to the African Union.