Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera on Tuesday briefed the media on the status of the reforms of the African Union championed by President Paul Kagame and expounded on the series of reforms that have been ongoing.
Dr. Sezibera said that the African Union Commission began with reforming the vision and mission of the African Union, to focus it on programmes and problem of a continental nature, and then from the 17th to 19th of November, there were a series of reforms aimed at making the African Union Commission to fit for purpose to serve that reformed agenda.
In these reforms agreed, included reforming the Commission itself, making sure that the commission is reduced from the current ten members including one president, one vice president and eight commissioners to a commission of eight members.
Eight members including one president, one vice chairperson, and six commissioners.
The reforms also introduced a reconfiguration of the portfolios of the commissioners and included new departments to help us dealing with the challenges of tomorrow.
Those include a blue economy, rural development, and natural resources, especially, mining.
The commission was both reduced in number-rationalised- but also made fit for purpose for the challenges of tomorrow.
There were reforms agreed on how these commissioners and the presidents will be elected.
For the president and vice president, selection process and the commissioners, the selection process will begin with five regions of the African Union, proposing candidates making sure that there is gender equality, parity but also making sure that there is intra-regional rotation based on alphabetical order.
Those proposals will then be submitted to a panel of prominent persons for consideration and those persons will include former presidents and other former heads of government, former leaders of continental organizations, including African Union Commission, former ministers of Foreign Affairs, and so on.
There will be a panel of prominent persons who will consider those proposals.
That panel will be assisted by an independent African firm that will be recruited by a panel of prominent persons to examine those proposals for consideration.
The people shortlisted for the African Union chairperson and vice chairperson will then have a chance to speak to Africans in general.
There will be televised debates across the African continent for them to share what their vision for Africa is, what they intend to do, and then they will also go to the assembly of heads of state who are the ones who make the final choice but these people will also be given a chance to express their vision and mission- what they want to do to the assembly of heads of state.
That will be for the chairperson and the vice chairperson.
The commissioners will also be selected by the regions, go through the process of endorsement by the panel of eminent persons assisted by the firm and an independent African firm, but there will be selected by the Executive Council which is composed of ministers of foreign affairs by a delegation from the heads of state.
That model of selection was agreed but the reforms also introduced a way for termination of non-performing officials because right now there is no clear procedure as to how to terminate somebody who is not performing.
It was agreed that the procedure for termination will begin with at least four member states coming from regions except for the region which does not have it national as either the chairperson of the first chairperson of the Commission.
Those member states can begin termination proceedings based on incompetence, crossing competence, or some other things, and the termination will have to be accepted by the heads of state.