Somalia Seeks Support from Former Foreign Minister Fawzia Adam for AUC Chairperson Position

Somalia has officially initiated efforts to promote its former Foreign Affairs minister, Fawzia Yusuf Adam, as a candidate for the next Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), potentially challenging Kenya’s Raila Odinga directly.

Speculation about Ms. Adam’s candidacy has been circulating since January. She holds the distinction of being Somalia’s first female Foreign Minister, serving during President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s initial term.

However, it was only on Wednesday that her government began actively seeking support for her candidacy. Speaking to the Nation, she stated that she is running with the full backing of her home government under President Mohamud, aiming to “amplify African voices and advance the African agenda.”

“I harbor a profound passion for Africa and a strong aspiration to contribute to the continent’s development and progress,” she emphasized. “My candidacy for the AU chairpersonship is motivated by a desire to strengthen the ties between African nations and foster a more unified and integrated continent.”

She outlined her vision, which encompasses a seven-point agenda focusing on pan-African unity, sustainable development, peace and security, youth empowerment, gender equality, climate change, and good governance.

Somalia’s government spokesman and Minister for Information, Daud Aweis, previously hinted at the government’s support for Adam’s candidacy, signaling a significant shift in Somalia’s international standing.

“Following notable diplomatic achievements such as the lifting of the arms embargo, debt relief, and accession to the EAC, Somalia is now poised to play a prominent role on the global stage,” Aweis remarked earlier.

Before assuming the role of Foreign Affairs minister from 2012 to 2014, Ms. Adam had a career as a diplomat and activist, representing both the Somali government and the UN in various foreign missions.

Despite her accomplishments, she has faced controversy, including her past support for the secession of Somaliland from Somalia and her failed attempt to run for the presidency of Somaliland. Her Peace, Democracy, and Prosperity Party (NBD) Party, registered in Somaliland, was banned ahead of the 2010 elections.

Born in Hargeisa, Somaliland, she is renowned for advocating for education for ordinary civilians. However, in 2012, she relocated to Mogadishu, where she made history as the first female deputy prime minister and Foreign Affairs minister.

Currently leading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Party in Somalia and serving as a federal MP, she is also pursuing studies in International Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies.

Adam’s candidacy complicates the aspirations of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, who has been lobbying to become the EAC-endorsed candidate.

If successful, Adam would become only the second female head of the AUC, following South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

While the rotational rules stipulate that the Eastern Africa region should produce the next AUC Chairperson, the electoral rules allow for multiple candidates from the region, setting the stage for immediate competition in the elections slated for February next year.

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