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Somalia lobbies ex-Foreign minister Fawzia Adam for AUC Chairperson seat


Friday March 1, 2024


Somalia's former Foreign Affairs minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam. She has formally declared interest in the African Union Commision (AUC) chairperson seat which its elections are set to be held in 2025. PHOTO | X via Fawzia Adam (@FawziaYusufAdam)

Somalia has formally began lobbying for its ex-Foreign Affairs minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam to be the next African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson in what could bring a direct challenge to Kenya’s Raila Odinga.

Since January, there had been speculation that Ms Adam, the first female Foreign Minister in Somalia and who served under the first term of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, will enter the race.

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But it is only on Wednesday that her government began lobbying for votes. She told the Nation she is competing with the full blessings of her home government under President Mohamud and wants to “amplify African voices and advance African agenda”.

“I have a deep passion for Africa and a strong desire to contribute to the continent’s development and progress,” she told the Nation on Thursday.

“By running for the chairperson of the AU, I aim to strengthen the bonds between African countries and work towards a more united and integrated continent.”

Her vision, she said is a seven-point focus on pan-African unity, sustainable development, peace and security, youth empowerment and gender equality, as well as climate change and good governance.

Daud Aweis, Somalia’s government spokesman and Minister for Information, had earlier indicated that the government would support Adam’s candidature as it marks a turn-around for his country on international stage.

“Following key diplomatic achievements such as lifting the arms embargo, debt relief, and joining the EAC, Somalia is now well-placed to play a major role in the world,” Aweis said earlier when the rumours began.

He also said Somalia would support a “veteran diplomat Fawzia Yusuf Adam as our nominee for the top position at the AU”.

Before becoming Foreign Affairs minister, a post she served between 2012 and 2014, Ms Adam was previously a diplomat and later became an activist.

She served in foreign missions in Moscow, Washington DC, Berlin and Paris, working for both Somali government and the UN.

Controversial past

But she has had a controversial past. She once supported the secession of Somaliland from Somalia and even tried to compete for the presidency of Somaliland.

However, her Peace, Democracy and Prosperity Party (NBD) Party which she had registered in Somaliland was banned before elections in 2010.

Somalia considers Somaliland its territory and has lobbied heavily against any bilateral dealings with Somaliland by foreign partners.

In Hargeisa, Somaliland where she was born; she is famed for championing education for ordinary civilians. But then in 2012, she had a Damascus moment and relocated to Mogadishu where she became the first female deputy prime minister and Foreign Affairs minister.

“I have had many challenges including cultural and traditional obstacles to women’s emancipation. Every step of my way was therefore a challenge,” she told the Nation in an earlier interview in 2022, ahead of her country’s presidential elections in which she was an unsuccessful candidate.

She currently leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Party in Somalia and serves as a federal MP. She is also currently studying International Public Policy at the John Hopkins University School of International Studies.

Fawzia’s entry complicates Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s path as he has been lobbying to be the EAC-endorsed candidate.

Adam could become only the second female head of the AUC, after South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Under the rotational rules drawn in 2018, the Eastern Africa region should be the next to produce the AUC Chairperson. But the rules of elections allow as many candidates to come from the region, fueling an immediate competition for the elections due next year in February.



 





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