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ECOSOCC officials sue AU Commission Chair, Mahamat over abuse of power

From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

The AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat is to appear in Court for alleged abuse of power and for misleading the policy organ of the AU.

The AU Chair was dragged to an Ethiopian Court by officials of the African Union Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) who made the allegations.

The move according to sources was against the backdrop of what the applicants described as unduly and indefinitely suspension slammed on six ECOSOCC elected members on 21st of June this year without following ECOSOCC Statutes, rules of procedures or due process.

The affected members included Eng. Abdurahaman Ahmed Mokhtar (Chairperson of Trade and Industry Cluster of African Union ECOSOCC, Roll Stephane Ngomat (Chairperson of Peace and Security Cluster of African union ECOSOCC , Dr El Hacene Mbareck (Chairperson of Health and Social Affairs Cluster of African Union ECOSOCC  and Dr Shem Ochuodho , Dr Tunji Asaolu and Mr John Oba, (ECOSOCC Members).

Moussa Faki Mahamat

The Economic, Social & Cultural Council is an AU advisory organ composed of different social and professional groups of AU Member States.

The purpose of ECOSOCC is to provide an opportunity for African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to play an active role in contributing to the AU’s principles, economic policies and programmes.

While describing the action of  AU Commission  as illegal, a  lawyers Biset Beyene of Biset Beyene & Associates Law Office noted that  the decision was taken outside of any regulatory, legal framework  or deliberation by the General Assembly which is the sole body empowered to act suspension of any ECOSOCC Members,”

Beyene said,”Chairperson Suspension letter was made based on the decision of the Executive Council decision No. EX.CL/ Dec. 1115/XXXVIII Feb. 2021.

“However, the executive council does not possess the powers and functions to make such decisions on elected officials of one of the pillar organs of the African Union such as ECOSOCC.

“The functions of the Executive council are exhaustively numbered under Article 13 of the AU Constitutive Act. None of the functions mentioned correspond or relate to such powers the chairperson refers to as the basis of the investigation by the OIO.

“Rules 8.2 of ECOSOCC rules of procedures give power to the ECOSOCC Disciplinary Committee to inquire into the conduct of the Members of ECOSOCC.

“No-where in the investigation process the Disciplinary Committee were given the task to fulfil their statutory mandate,” he stated.

According to Dr Shem Ochuodho (ECOSOCC Member), the decision of the chairperson of the AUC to suspend ECOSOCC Leaders and members is not only biased but also aimed at emasculating and silence ECOSOCC Leaders and General Assembly (GA) members who are calling for ECOSOCC reforms in order to address the dysfunctions and mismanagement of funds and resources by the Secretariat.

Also lamenting, John Oba, ECOSOCC 3rd GA members, stated that, none, has the right to ban sons and daughters of Africa from playing an active role on the issues of their own continent.

Such actions Oba added amounts to the violation of citizenship and human rights abuse.

A diplomat in Addis Ababa, who also spoke under anonymous alleged that the said suspension has been considered by certain African union member states as the will of the Chairperson of the AUC to deprived certain influential member states from Nigeria, Kenya, Gabon, Sudan and Gabon from participating in ECOSOCC activities despite their huge financial contribution.

’the suspension of countries representative in an organ make de facto, the country representation absent, and a suspension of any ECOSOCC members is absolutely a suspension of each country affected from being member of ECOSOCC,”

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