Officials of the Pan African body captured by foreign interests

The African Union seems to be slipping away from its values and principles of pan-Africanism to embracing colonialist, Zionist, capitalist, and overall corruptive and corrupted priorities.

One may get deceived by the glorifying and satisfying narrative, texts, and conventions, or by the voiced positions and decisions taken by the different organs.

But the reality in the organisation is that of horror stories and problematic behaviour of officials and employees alike. Stories of corruption, misuse of budgets, nepotism, misuse of power, and worse, obvious complicity with foreign powers that are still heavily influencing the implementation of the AU vision and decisions. Botswana Guardian has had access to various AU official and working documents, which clearly show examples of corruption and misconduct in the continental organisation.

This is not about the disgraceful and totally colonialist decisions such as granting Morocco membership in 2017 (despite illegally occupying parts of another AU member state, the Saharawi Republic).

Or granting Israel an observer status by the current Chairperson of the AU Commission Mahamat Moussa Faki in 2021, without prior consultations with member states on this matter, which has long been divisive for the AU and OAU before that.

The real problem is that corruption is widespread in the whole body of the union and its various organs and institutions as these internal documents have shown.

First, an AU Forensic Audit report, discussed by the relevant decision-making organs this year, reveals serious misuse of AU finances. It also shows a common misuse of power by officials, including some Commissioners,

Directors, Heads of Divisions, and even employees.

They abuse their posts and positions to influence the recruitment of employees in favour of some who sometimes, do not even fit or qualify for specific posts that often require high levels of expertise.

Second, the same report discussed by the AU Permanent Representatives Committee last May and then later by the Executive Council stated, “a possible wrong-doing, misuse, and/or mismanagement of resources in the areas below where names of key individuals were provided:

“1. Recruitment and Contract Renewal Process; 2. Procurement and Travel Practices; 3. Management of Member States and Partner Funds (this includes Management of Administrative Costs); 4. Finance and Accounting Practices; 5. Management of the AU Peace Fund.”

The report provides a list of individuals who were involved in possible wrongdoing, misuse, and/or mismanagement of the organisation’s resources. Many of these examples are likely not by accident, as testimonies of some former staff of the Union, who left their jobs for various reasons, have confirmed.

Some of the former staff indicated that they couldn’t continue struggling in such a poisonous work environment, where intrigues, machinations, and under-belt kicks are the norm. One even told Botswana Guardian that he could not believe what was happening at the Addis-Ababa headquarters.

“It was like if I was in the middle of some dark episodes of the House of Cards series”.

The situation is so serious, not only because the report shows that hundreds of thousands of USD are wasted, mismanaged, or just lost because of incompetence, lack of action, or bad repeated practice, but also because

some nationals are acting at the behest of foreign interests.

So serious is the situation that some employees - acting individually or collectively – are believed to be influencing the recruitment of new staff members, in some cases even bringing them from nowhere and thus pushing short-listed ones aside.

In other cases, persons are recruited without the Chairperson’s approval, or without the requisite performance evaluations or even verification of their competencies. Others were recruited to posts to which they were not qualified, including in high positions of Directors and Heads of Divisions.

Similar misconducts are also related to procurement and travel practices, where millions of USD are mismanaged, or poorly accounted for.

Botswana Guardian was also able to reach out to some former AU Staff, who accepted to talk under anonymity out of fear of possible reprisals, saying that there is widespread abuse of AU employees’ rights, especially against staff recruited under short-term contracts, youth volunteers, or general service.

The concerns in these cases vary from the constraints put on the shoulders of these short-term staff, who are in most of the cases over-exploited, and deprived of many basic rights to the point that one has told us that she felt more like a slave than an expert providing a valuable service to the organisation.

“If it wasn’t for the need for the good salary I could get, I wouldn’t have been able to tolerate the lack of respect, sexual harassment, and all sorts of administrative problems that I had to go through every time I needed to get my salary, or to renew my contract, even to be able to travel for a mission was a real pain. I couldn’t breathe until I left the organisation,” she sighed.