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Frustrated Kagame hands AU reform over to Ruto

Only a minority of the goals set by the Rwandan president as part of his African Union governance plan have been achieved, he told his peers at the 17-18 February summit in Addis Ababa, as he hands the baton to his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto.

According to the official programme, he was due to present his final report on the reform of the African Union (AU) at the plenary session.

But it was behind closed doors that Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame spoke on this sensitive subject. And he made no secret of his frustration with the results.

Few goals achieved

Kagame was mandated by his peers in 2016 to carry out an ambitious governance plan focusing on the financial independence of the AU and strengthening the powers of the commission president.

Although the Rwandan president wrote in a summary published on his website that “a lot has been achieved”, only a minority of the targets he had set himself were actually hit – for example a reduction in the number of commissioners and the revitalisation of the peace fund.

Kagame’s entourage has pointed to the unwillingness of some of his peers, the bureaucratic red tape within the AU, in particular the blockages within the organisation’s committee of permanent representatives, adding that the committee of experts appointed to assist him were “out of touch”. This nine-member committee includes Donald Kaberuka, Carlos Lopes, Amina Mohammed and Vera Songwe.

“Six years of determination driven by Kagame’s dynamism, six years of symposia, seminars and retreats, all to produce a report of a thousand pages that is largely useless,” says an insider who has seen the document. The Rwandan president told his counterparts that he had spent more than $5m on the process.

While exonerating Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat as well as the head of the AU’s institutional reform implementation unit, former Cameroonian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, whom he thanked for their support, Kagame preferred to step down and let Kenya’s William Ruto take over.

“We wish him good luck,” said a Rwandan diplomat.

This article was originally published on the Africa Report

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