Meet Faki Mahamat; the new chair of AU

Last year Chad’s Foreign Minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was nominated by his country to contest African Union (AU) chairperson position. Today, in a keenly contested election, he surprised observers by beating favourites Amina Mohamed of Kenya, and Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal.

The voting lasted for seven rounds, with Amina Mohammed pushing him all the way. In the end, Mahamat garnered 38 votes to clinch the chair.

Mahamat will be taking over from Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who had decided not to re-contest the position, after her four-year tenure ended in 2016. Dlamini-Zuma was the first female to lead the bloc of 54 members.

The five people who contested for the position were namely, Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s foreign minister, Abdoulaye Bathily, Senegalese diplomat and academic, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, a veteran politician from Botswana, and Mba Mokuy, Equatorial Guinea’s Foreign Minister.

Mahamat, 56, was born in Biltine, eastern Chad. For three years, he served as the Prime Minister of his country, and in 2008 he was appointed to his present position as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Also, he has a vast experience working for the AU, having previously served as the chair of AU’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council.