The era of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the African Union Commission chairperson has since reached an end. This has ushered in a new leader, Moussa Faki Mahamat who began his duties as the AU chairperson this year.
The African Union Commission is the administrative and executive branch of the African Union, it functions as the secretariat of the union. The commission which consists of various commissioners heading different sectors is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The African Union Commission chairperson is usually elected by the heads of states and governments for a five-year term.The role of the holder of this position includes chairing all AU meetings, as well as promoting and establishing the objectives of the union,
The following are the African diplomats who have been at the helm of the African Union Commission.
As the last secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity, Amara Essy was the acting AUC chairman. He played a key role in the transition from the OAU to the African Union. The Ivorian leader began his tenure in 2001 until 2002 when the OAU officially became the African Union. Although he was one of the diplomats contesting the African Union Commission chairperson role, he withdrew from the race, leaving Alpha Oumar Konare as the sole candidate and eventual winner of the race.
Alpha Oumar Konare
Alpha Oumar Konare was the first official chairman of the African Union Commission. Born in Mali on February 2, 1946, he served as the first undisputed elected President of the west African country between 1992-2002 on two consecutive five-year terms. Before becoming president, he held other posts such as Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts, and Culture ( 178-1980).He founded a newspaper, Les Echos. He was also the President of the regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States( ECOWAS) in 1999. He further served as President of the west African monetary union in 2000.
He served as the AU chief for five years between 2003 and 2008.
Jean Ping succeeded Alpha Konare as the AU commission chief. He holds a doctorate degree in Economics obtained from the University of Paris. He also holds two honorary degrees from the Institute of diplomacy, China.
The Gabonese diplomat held the post from 2008 to 2012. Prior to this, he held several positions including being the Foreign Minister of Gabon from 1999 to 2008, Gabon’s permanent delegate to the UNESCO, advisor to the Gabonese embassy in France, Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, Tourism and Recreation, and Reform of the Parastatal Sector, among many other ministerial roles.
Although Jean Ping contested for a second term, he lost out to Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. This made her the first woman to head the African Union Commission. Like her predecessors, she previously held diverse political offices before becoming the chair of the AUC. She served as South Africa’s Minister of Health, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, among others.
She led the commission from 2012 to 2017, having refused to contest a second term. During her tenure, she launched the Agenda 2063 — a vision of PanAfricanism that projects a borderless Africa.
Moussa Faki Mahamat
Moussa Faki Mahamat is the fourth and current African Union Commission chairperson. He’s a law graduate from a Congo university born on June 21, 1960 in Chad. Before becoming the African Union Commission chairperson, he was Prime Minister of the west-central African country from 2003 to 2005. He became a member of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2007. In the same year, he was elected President of the council. In 2008 he was appointed as the Chadian Minster of Foreign Affairs.
As the new AUC head, Faki pledges to focus on security and Africa’s development.