Somalia

Somali nominee alleges pressure to withdraw from AUC chairmanship race

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Fauzia declared she would not resign in the face of criticism, saying she thought Somalia could win the seat.

Fauzia Yusuf, Somalia's candidature for Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), disclosed on Thursday that Federal Government authorities have requested her to step down in support of Djibouti's candidate.

According to Fauzia, she met with some high-ranking officials in Mogadishu last month, including the Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Everyone pushed her to drop out of the race without giving a reason.

Fauzia declared she would not resign in the face of criticism, saying she thought Somalia could win the seat.

She recounted a similar incident in 2016, when President Hassan, who was also in office then, requested that she withdraw from the same contest. She mentioned that his favoured candidate did not win.

"Today, eight years later in 2024, I am told again to withdraw in favour of another preferred candidate from a different foreign country. If I do this, the seat will not return to the region for another 40 years, so I will not step down. I still cannot figure out why Somalia's leadership is working against me, a Somali national," Fauzia said.

She emphasised that it was time for Somalia to take the opportunity and compete for the continental position.

Fauzia served as Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from 2012 until 2013. She was also a presidential candidate in Somalia's 2022 elections.

If elected, Fauzia would be the second woman to head the AUC after South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Fauzia pledged to advance the AU's Agenda 2063, focusing on security, sustainable development, youth empowerment, climate action, gender equality, and good governance.

She also promised to promote women's rights, increase women's representation in leadership positions, and ensure equal access to opportunities in all sectors.

In her speech, Fauzia highlighted women's persistent challenges in attaining high-level positions, including the one she is currently vying for.

Early last month, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has nearly 30 African member states, expressed support for her bid for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the 2025-2028 term.

During the OIC meeting, Somalia's Foreign Minister, Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, led the Somali delegation. Discussions at the meeting centered on the report and final declaration to be adopted.

Fauzia will compete with Kenya's former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Djibouti's Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf.

The application deadline is August 6, 2024, at 5 pm Addis Ababa time.

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