The African Union (AU) adopted a major restructuring project in 2018, led by Rwandan President, Paul Kagame. Unfortunately, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, a Rwandan national, who was elected Deputy Chairperson in 2017, perhaps to materialise her President’s vision, is now inversely working against the clock to staff the main positions in the Commission with close allies/friends, violating all AU rules, values and norms in the process.
Botswana Guardian warned in two previous articles against a pandemic rise of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement and misuse of African Union’s funds, in addition to sexual abuses and violations perpetrated by senior officers against short-term staff, youth and general service staff in the Pan African organisation.
But, it seems that to this date no investigation has been undertaken, despite the fact that the leadership of the AUC is well aware of the anomalies and violations, and worse, it seems that the Deputy Chairperson (DCP) is opposing any sort of inquiry on these well-documented matters.
Botswana Guardian wrote in a previous article about the suspicious and illegal appointment of the new AU Legal Counsel, who turned out to be unqualified for the post, and who violated the Union’s rules by providing false information and falsifying his work experience.
The DCP is well aware of this issue, and so is the Chairperson of the AUC Moussa Faki Mahamat, who received a formal letter last September, the 12th, from three eminent African legal experts informing him of this specific violation, with sufficient proofs and arguments, calling for a quick intervention.
To date, no action has been taken on the matter, a conduct that proves the prevalence of impunity and lack of seriousness from the “reformists”, who are destroying the AUC instead of reforming it.
Permanent Representatives of African states were also informed about these violations, not only from media coverage, but from formal AU documents, Forensic and Financial Audit report that they reviewed and discussed on various occasions since 2021.
The Botswana Guardian was informed that in various collective and individual interactions with the DCP, representatives of member states asked for a quick and deep investigation on these anomalies and violations.
The DCP was however failing her responsibility, pushing by all means to convince member states to give her control over any possible investigation, or to give the duty to the Directorate of Human Resources, whose Director was also recently appointed by the DCP!
When she met resistance from member states’ representatives who rightly want to be directly involved in the investigation, she tried to push towards contracting a firm to do the job, even though the AU had already paid more than 250.000 USD to a company of her choice, Ernst & Young (EY), who were supposed to do the initial job of investigating candidates’ background, but failed badly in many cases like that of the new Legal Counsel.
In fact, it is incomprehensible why the DCP is resisting ordering an internal investigation at least on the work experience of the current Legal Counsel, since she can easily access all necessary documents in one hour from Human Resources Directorate (HR)!
Botswana Guardian, was able to consult copies of the CV and contracts of the controversial Legal Counsel, to easily find out that he claimed to have been a Senior Legal Officer since 2018, which turned out to be false.
All his short-term contracts from 2018 to November 2020 were for the position of Legal Officer (P2) and not for Senior Legal Officer (P3).
So at least, just from this fact, it is obvious that he was not a “Senior Legal Officer” from 2018 up to November 2020 as he claimed.
Now this is tremendous proof of his incompetence, since he obviously lacks the requisite 15 years of managerial experience for such a high profile position in the AU.
Moreover, the same documents, seen by Botswana Guardian, also show that the concerned has only been appointed as an Acting Head of the African Union Commission on international law (AUCIL) on March 2022.
Therefore, he falsified his CV that was submitted to the Commission when he claimed having assumed that post since 2018, giving himself at least four (4) years such experience, when he only had around three (3) months’!
What is strange is that these claims are very easy to check! Since all his contracts and documents are certainly with HR and can immediately be consulted by the DCP, while the complaint she received on the matter from the three African Legal Experts has been on her desk for the last 20 days at least with no reaction.
Surprisingly enough, the Legal Counsel has to date not been suspended despite all these verifiable proofs against him despite the DCP, in various other cases, having taken immediate disciplinary actions against other staff, who were suspended for months for mistakes or misconducts judged as inappropriate by the administration.
One would not be surprised by the conduct of the DCP given the claims in some circles within the AUC about her.
Indeed some experts on the Union’s internal politics contacted by Botswana Guardian believe that the Deputy’s insistence to have the new unqualified-Legal Counsel appointed is specifically connected to her desire to control him in the future.
These experts believe that there is probably a plan regarding some legal interpretations in favour of the DCP’s future nomination to succeed the current Chairperson Musa Faki in the 2025 elections, especially since the decision on restructuring the Union is not categorically clear on this area.
The reforms stipulate, however, that the principle of rotation according to the English alphabet order shall be observed, which means that the next Chairperson of the Commission to be elected in 2025 should be from the Eastern Region, of which DCP’s country, Rwanda, is a member.
Nevertheless, the doubtful actions and behaviour of the Deputy Chairperson unequivocally confirm that she is not suitable to lead the Commission and especially lacks integrity to complete the major reform process that President Kagame envisioned and architected.
AUC Deputy Chair is obviously using targeted staffing allowing specific candidates of her choice to compete and eventually win key posts of directors, while disqualifying internal staff, who are fully-qualified to compete for posts that in many cases they have been occupying as Acting Directors for years.
The reason is obvious; she wants to control the whole Commission starting by controlling its directorates.
It will therefore be strange for the AUC to allow the DCP to get involved in any possible investigation related to the appointment of the Legal Counsel, and any other cases of appointments she may be involved in, since it looks obvious that she has some relation with the anomalies indicated in AU Forensic Audits submitted to the Summit these two past years.
To avoid any conflict of interest, the AUC Chairperson should intervene in person enabling the internal Audit of the AU to investigate the case as a first step towards the right approach to regain the trust of member states, and the public opinion.
The Permanent Representatives Committee should also be involved in these investigations through its relevant sub-committees to ensure transparency and rigour.
On the other hand, it's doubtful that President Paul Kagame is aware of what the Deputy Chairperson is doing to his reformist plans for the AUC.
If he doesn’t know, he should be informed by his Ambassador in Addis, who is well aware of all these incredible anomalies, otherwise the image and credibility of Rwanda is taking heavy blows inside the AUC because of the possible “corruption” of the highest Rwandan official in the organisation.
One would even wonder why the Rwandan Ambassador is not already intervening to stop her compatriot at the AUC from damaging the image of Rwanda!
The responsibility also falls on the shoulders of the AUC Chairperson and all Permanent Representatives and their various relevant sub-committees.
It is unacceptable that an employee, such as the DCP, no matter how high a position she holds, is rejecting and resisting the demands of investigations that member states are demanding for more than 20 days so far.