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8 Cameroonians Gunning For AU Commission’s Top Positions 

Yerima Kini Nsom with field reports from Addis-Ababa

There has been increasing anxiety in Cameroon and the Central Africa Region over the chances of its candidates, after the AU’s Independent Team of Consultants headed by Nigeria’s Ambassador, Layl-Koyode Iyanda, released the names of some 40 candidates for various elections into the AU Commission’s executive in April.

The Central Africa Region is fielding 13 candidates in virtually all the positions, eight from Cameroon, three from Burundi and one each from Chad and Equatorial Guinea.
More importantly, the Region is competing for the positions of President of the AU Commission through Equato-Guinean Foreign Minister, Agapito Mba Mokuy and the Deputy Chairperson, through Cameroon’s Victor Emmanuel Djomatchoua.

Although Cameroon, like other Central Africa countries might definitely support Equatorial Guinea for the top position, realism also dictates that if the Central Africa flag bearer does not go through, the Region should not come out of the elections empty-handed.

Reason why President Biya has authorised the fielding of eight Cameroonian candidates for various positions, which include: Victor Emmanuel Djomatchoua (Deputy Chairperson), Emmanuel Edou (Peace and Security), Churchill Ewumbue-Monono (Political Affairs), Philemon Zo’o Zame (Infrastructure and Energy), Justine Diffo Tchunkam (Social Affairs), Maurice Tchuente (Human Resources, Science and Technology), Francois Ekanga Ekoko (Rural Economy and Agriculture) and Paul Tasong Njukeng (Economic Affairs).
Tasong is the current CEMAC Commissioner in charge of the same portfolio.

The position Cameroon is not contesting is that of Trade and Industries, currently occupied by Chad.
As the countdown to the elections narrows, it is expected that Yaounde will reduce this rather large group to an essential two or three strategic positions, with chances of sailing through.

However, Ambassador Iyanda’s report does not seem to rank a number of Cameroonian candidates favourably. Four of them, Djomatchoua, Edou, Diffo Tchunkam, and Ekanga Ekoko, are ranked last among at least four other candidates in the offices they are competing for. Maurice Tchuente is ranked 3rd among the three candidates of his category, while the Anglophone, Paul Tasong, is ranked 2nd among the two candidates of his category.

The most favourably ranked Cameroonian candidate, according to the Ambassador’s report, is Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, who is gunning for the Political Affairs Commissioner. He is 2nd among the four candidates, coming behind the Sudanese representing East Africa.

Like the Equato-Guinean, his candidature also seems to have the consensus of all the countries of the Region, unlike in other portfolios, where Cameroonian and Chadian candidates in Peace and Security, Trade and Industries, Social Affairs, and Human Resources are being challenged by Burundi.

Monono’s chances of grabbing the post have also been enhanced by the withdrawal of the Nigerian candidate, as Abuja is now fielding a candidate for the Commissioner in charge of Peace and Security.
Commenting on CRTV Sunday evening programme, Scene de Presse, Senior Diplomat, Minister Plenipotentiary Dieudonne Ntsama, lauded the fact that Cameroon is also fielding a senior diplomat, who is acquainted with the milieu to such elective positions, which, for long, had been the reserve of university professors.

Can Cameroon’s veteran journalist and ace diplomat, therefore become Central Africa’s back-up candidate to the Equato-Guinean race for the Presidency of the African Union in the elections slated for Kigali, Rwanda in the weeks ahead?

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