The African Union (AU) Commission has re-elected Moussa Faki Mahamat into the chairperson position of the continent’s regulatory body. Mahamat reportedly won 51 votes out of 55 at the AU’s two-day summit this past weekend. The Chadian states-man now holds the highest election victory in the history of the AU. Mahamat’s reappointment, while it came with celebrations, comes with the difficult task of procuring and rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine across African states. Mahamat shared the news of his reappointment on Twitter this past Sunday.
With deep humility,I accept the good wishes upon my election for a 2nd term as Chair of the AUCommission together w… https://t.co/CIMtrntLs0
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@Moussa Faki Mahamat)1612728201.0
Mahamat according to Africa News, raised concerns about Africa’s capacity to procure COVID-19 vaccines ahead of AU’s two-day summit: “There is a vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more than they require”. The 60-year-old AU Commission chairperson is charged with drawing out effective vaccine rollout programmes after the AU reportedly procured more than 600 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for all 55 members states. However, only sixteen African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tunisia showed interest in the AU’s vaccine programme. Tanzania, on other hand, controversially refused COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the AU’s rollout plan. President John Magufuli reportedly raised concerns over the efficacy of the vaccine and stated that Tanzanians would not be “guinea pigs” for Western imperialism, this according to BBC News.
The AU will announce the distribution plans of the 114 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses to the sixteen African countries within the next three weeks. Rwandan banker, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa was elected the deputy chairperson following a newly passed AU rule that a chairperson and deputy cannot be of the same gender. This is Mahamat’s second term of four years after he was first elected in 2017.