Scandal within the APRM, the Guilty Silence of South Africa

samedi 29 mars 2014

In this 21st century, many Africans are sure of one thing, the human resources, technological hardware, and expertise necessary for promoting development and reducing poverty exist in Africa.

Moreover, they believe that these resources are within the reach of the children of the continent. It is in this perspective that some African leaders have created the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD. However, this structure cannot achieve its objectives without a peaceful environment, and therefore stable, where security, the rule of law, and good governance are perennial. But how do you ensure that secure environment ? Here is the solution. The Heads of state, members of the Organization of African Unity have established the African Peer Review Mechanism.

And in March 2003, when the Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, have laid the foundation of this institution, they actually hoped to see an emerging Africa, devoid of corruption. And they succeeded for a moment. Since its inception, the credibility of the APRM was based on a Panel of independent persons. This Panel led the assessments of the countries that are members of the institution. And these assessments were free from political pressures and manipulations. And in the course of its actions, the Panel was supported by a technically competent and motivated Secretariat. Thus, the assessment reports on governance have enabled many African citizens to participate in political debates in their respective countries, as said the Senegalese Marie-Angelique Savane, one of the former leaders of this structure.

But nowadays, the effectiveness of the APRM is questioned. An unanticipated governing body in its base document, the Committee of focal points (CFP), is straining its independence - Read the box : Conflict between the APRM leadership. Composed of political authorities, the APRM and its Secretariat is now managed by the CFP. The APRM, an organisation that wanted to promote the issues of transparency, stakeholder participation in society, to find a consensus on national priorities, is itself involved in the vortex of poor governance - Read the box : Assefa Shifa, the Ethiopian, by whom the scandal is revealed .
Thus, nepotism, mismanagement, favoritism, misappropriation became common rules in the management of the APRM in South Africa. Worse, the international institutions that are supposed to ensure and guide its proper functioning, give this bad cover : Do The UNDP and the European Union encourage poor governance ? And many are Heads of States who have little regard for the APRM - read : The Disinterest of Heads of State gangrenes the APRM .

This dossier that the journalist Ramata SORE has written reveals the hidden face of poor governance that weakens one of the most important institutions of the continent. Investigation...

Assefa Shifa.
Assefa Shifa, the Ethiopian behind the scandal.

Do The UNDP and the European Union encourage poor governance ?

This is the question that one needs to ask himself. These two international institutions for several years are informed of misappropriation that take place in the APRM. But their lethargy toward this situation has fuelled an environment conducive to discrediting the APRM, its leaders, and by extension the African continent.

Addis Ababa : It is 5h20 am on 30 January 2014. Most of the capital city in Ethiopia, including in Africa is still sleeping. Very few vehicles are on the road. On the sidewalk, some girls wearing short skirts are maybe on their way home. Some security guards can be seen in front of the windows of nicely stocked shops. Jackets, dresses, jeans, skirts, red, blue, black, and yellow in colour catch the eye. These shops stretch along Bole Avenue. A road with artificial palm trees shimmer in the biting cold.

It’s near the roundabout on this road that we meet our interlocutor. She seems alert. Her eyes piercing. With bright eyes. "I hope that no one will recognize me," she said. Her English has a soft accent. An accent of one of the languages of Southern Africa. With her hood over her head, she urges us not to look at her. "Walk right and stuck to me. Thus, people consider us as clubbers returning." We therefore obey. The law of silence "I fear for my job by talking to you," she begins. Then silence. Moreover, she is not the only one who is afraid to speak on the scandals weakening the APRM. A minister of Cameroon refused to speak on the subject.

"Each state has its own skeletons in the closet," he said fearing that expressing his concern would involve the responsibility and retaliation against his country. Amara Konneh, Minister of Finance of Liberia and President of the Committee of Focal Points, as we have repeatedly tried to reach by telephone is always pretending to be someone else. Therefore, he has never acted upon the various emails and phone calls. This fear to express concern worries one of the former Panel of Eminent Persons. Previously, having agreed to speak, she withdraws, then returns to engage and completely exclude any idea to speak out. The same applies to a minister from a country in West Africa. "But my job is nothing compared to the fate of the continent through the APRM," adds after a few seconds of silence, our interlocutor in the hood.

Thus speaking, she puts her hands deeper in the pockets of her sweater, as if to protect herself against a strong wind coming ahead.

"I saw you last time talking to the Acting Director. I saw how he and his communications officer snubbed you", says our companion.
It is 5h00pm on 28 January 2014. In the former headquarters of the African Union, we approach Assefa Shifa, the Acting Director of the APRM. The reason ? Ask him for an interview. This interview would be on poor governance alleged by many of his employees and audit reports in circulation relating to these allegations. On that day, Assefa Shifa, dressed in a black jacket, said that he was busy. Yet he was sitting alone and isolated. He thus refers us to his communications officer, Selela Liziwe. She therefore offered to help us, but after inquiring about the purpose of our request, she ended up by saying that she was busy : "Taking care of the members of the Panel of Eminent Persons," she told us.
She also refuses to give us an appointment or contact information for any other meeting. So we urge the Director. "Would you force me to give them to you...?" He says to us, nervous. Meanwhile, with his right hand, he taps away his handset. His left, on the glass of the building, faces a garden. If Assefa Shifa seems so concerned, it is because a vicissitude of events.

In July 2013, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, appointed Director of UNDP Africa, sent him an e-mail on December 13, 2013, then a letter on Jan. 8, 2014. In these letters, effective from December 31, 2013, Assefa Shifa shall be relieved of his duties as Acting Director of the APRM he assumed since 2010 and is therefore called back to his original functions at the UNDP Addis Ababa as Officer for Maintenance of the IT Park. Copy of the original letter of January 8 is sent to Amara Konneh. The latter is the Chairman of the Focal Points. Moreover, he is the Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs of Liberia. Akere Muna, Chairman of the Panel of Eminent Persons, is also copied. In these letters, therefore, the Director of UNDP Africa explained that his institution had accepted that Assefa Shifa temporarily served as Acting Director for one reason : It was planned to recruit a permanent director later.

Amara Konneh violates the rules of the APRM
But the decision to recall Assefa Shifa strongly dislike. Following the message from the Director of UNDP of December 13, Amara Konneh sends a letter to the members of the Panel to remind them that it is not their responsibility to request the recall of Assefa Shifa. More over, he says that in this respect the UNDP will be contacted at the highest level. According to a source well introduced in the UNDP, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Forum of Heads of State and also President of Liberia, ordered over the phone Abdoulaye Mar Dieye to reconsider his decision. But he refuses.
Therefore, on January 13, 2014, the Liberian Amara Konneh, in anofficial letter authorises Assefa Shifa to resume his duties at the APRM and promises to grant him a contract. In the letter, the Liberian Minister justifies his decision by the fact that Assefa Shifa must prepare the meetings of the Focal Points and the Panel of Eminent Persons to be held at the same time of the 22nd Summit of Heads of State in Addis Ababa. Besides, he says Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is informed.
For the Mauritian, Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, one of the Eminent Persons Panel, Amara Konneh’s decision is illegal and illegitimate according to the provisions regulating the APRM. Akere Muna shares the same view of this analysis. As overwhelmed by the situation, he thinks aloud. "The UNDP took the decision to recall Assefa Shifa since December 13, 2013. So we had two months to prepare the summit meetings. But why is it during the last week before the preparation of the summit that this story resurfaces ? ».
With a sigh, he confirmed that Assefa Shifa has resigned from the UNDP in order to reoccupy the position of Acting Director to the APRM. At the new headquarters of the African Union, on January 30, 2014, during his speech, the President of the Forum of Heads of State of the APRM, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, confirms the return to his post as Acting Director and renewal for 4 months of his contract and those of the staff of the Secretariat.
At the end of the speech, small groups are formed. Critics and questioning fuse.
"Africa will never take off with this type of business management," we hear there.
"Who appointed the Acting Director and what is the procedure ?" we perceive here.

This is the set of heads of state of the APRM members constituting the Forum, which appoints for a term of three years, renewable once, the director. It is Article 51 of the Procedural Manual of the APRM that states it. But what kind of contract is awarded to Assefa Shifa and already as that contract violates one of the rules of the Mechanism and also the African Union (AU) ? The APRM is an agency of the African Union, it adopts recruitment procedures that validates this institution said Joseph Tsang Mang Kin. However, the texts on the APRM / AU contract with regard to the recruitment of the Director said that the age limit for recruitment to the post is 60 years. But Assefa Shifa who was born on September 11, 1952, is over the limit. Until this issue was published, Erastus Mwencha, Vice-President of the Commission of the African Union, in charge of matters relating to the APRM has not responded to our investigation related to this topic.

For an APRM partner that followed the institution since its inception, the appointment of Assefa Shifa turns out to be a strategy to better plundered the resources of the institution.
"Johnson Sirleaf seeks to protect Shifa to prevent the audit of Trust Fund which may expose Amos Sawyer," says the same APRM partner.

Amos Sawyer has been the Panel Chairman from January 2012 to May 2013. Regarding the Trust Fund, it is a fund that international organizations and institutions send contributions to in order to subsidize the activities of the APRM. It exists since 2003, and the project documents between UNDP and the APRM were signed in 2005.

Deloitte denounces the management of the Secretariat
Already in 2012, the Deloitte report, following the audit of contributions by member states of the APRM, recommends an audit of the Trust Fund. The firm justifies its recommendation that it has found serious irregularities in the management regarding the contribution housed by the Development Bank of South Africa-DBSA and some malpractices found are referred to the Trust Fund whose access has been denied to the auditors. Assefa Shifa is the one at the APRM who is responsible over the management of these two funds. And with respect to the Trust fund, Akere Muna said he perceived suspicious activities.

Also, he says that when he was appointed in May 2013 as Chairman of the Panel of Eminent Persons, he noted that in April 2013, Amos Sawyer wrote to UNDP requesting the extension of Assefa Shifa’s contract and the Trust fund from which Shifa’s salary is paid.
"All this is contrary to the rules of APRM and those regulating the Trust Fund," explains Akere Muna.
Concerning Amos Sawyer, who was also Acting President of Liberia from 1990 to 1994, a letter of May 21, 2011, from the Department of Finance of APRM requires him reimbursement of Rand 58,837 or Dollars 5,465. This represents the surplus that the APRM has committed for the purchase of a plane ticket between Monrovia – Indianapolis- Maputo.
For the financial service, in order to take part in the activities of APRM in Mozambique, the direct path had to be : Monrovia - Maputo, at a cost of Rand 39,012 or Dollars 3623, amount that should be covered by the APRM. The leg Indianapolis relates to a demand form Amos Sawyer. He passed through the United States to stay a few days with his wife, says a source familiar with the story.
Then this person adds to that, "You know, he did worse than that. Even the private consultation fees from the dentist has been paid by the APRM. "
In the same course, our source says that no supporting documentation was presented to justify the 9,000 Dollars for secretarial expenses that Amos Sawyer perceived as Chairman of the Panel.

For many people, poor governance currently weakening the APRM has huge ramifications and implications. And nepotism and laxity have nurtured it also.
"Why UNDP allowed his employee Assefa Shifa to be Acting Director all this time. While as an employee of UNDP, he was not qualified to transact business on behalf of the APRM Secretariat "said Akere Muna.

In fact, nepotism has allowed this to happen, whispers a well introduced person in the APRM. Between 2009 and 2013 the Ethiopian Teggen Gettu was Director of UNDP Africa in New York. Zemenay Lakew, UNDP staff, who managed the Trust fund until her retirement on 31 December 2013 reports to him. Zemenay Lakew, was therefore the person to approve or not the expenses expressed by the APRM and its Secretariat.

"The people who were in charge of these institutions were all Ethiopians. What could be more normal they covering themselves" confirms a former APRM consultant.

The scandal is far from stopping there. And the UNDP is far from being the only one involved in this mismanagement situation. The European Union, too, has something to do in it.

The European Union and the UNDP, accomplice in poor governance
In 2010, this European institution donates 2 million of Euro to the APRM. This amount, like all other contributions of non-African institutions and organizations are paid into the Trust fund. According to the Communications Officer of the European Union, Maria Sanchez, for the 2 million disbursed, "a total of 1.3 million of EU contribution was spent."
But for what purpose ? Maria Sanchez, with whom we communicated several times, refused to provide details. However, the details, in a letter of 30 April 2013 by Amos Sawyer reveals this in part. A part of the Trust Fund money was used to pay Assefa Shifa’s salary. However, according to the provisions of APRM and UNDP, this should not be the case.

Contacted, the UNDP, through its Communications Officer Nicolas Douillet, declined to comment on the management of the Trust Fund and the situation of Assefa Shifa. But according to a partner of the APRM, there is an opaque network of transactions.
And it is to "transfer money from the Trust fund account to Standard Bank hosted by the DBSA. Then from there, transfer the money into an account opened by Shifa at Nedbank. Thus, the latter fund can pay consultants making fictitious work or not correctly done. "

In this regard, a member of one of the various committees of the African Union, who was on a mission to the APRM Secretariat, said to be stunned while there. Stunned by the wage disparity among staff. These wages were from basic to double.

In this wave of misappropriation, the prize is not only up to those institutions and to Ethiopian nationals. South Africa is no exception.

2012 first, the forensic audit by Deloitte, lists numerous irregularities in the management of funds held by the DBSA, the Southern African bank.
"This forensic audit report was never made public or brought to the attention of the Forum and Focal Points. It was presented only to the Panel in September 2012 in South Africa. No follow-up ! " denounces Joseph Tsang Mang Kin.

Also in 2012, the DBSA pays Reneesance 4 million Rands that is 506,000 Dollars, a catering service. The reasons ? Service charges for a two-day meeting in Durban, South Africa. This meeting brought together 30 focal points. And fees paid without Reneesance has previously signed a contract, excluded participants’ per diem as well as travel expenses at the meeting held from 13 to 14 April 2012, says a source, partner of APRM. 

Then to specify “Actually, this sum is South African taxpayer’s money. The late Minister of the South African Public Service, Roy Padayachie, has presented an appeal to the Durban municipality to fund dinner and transportation for participants and went on sharing with colleagues involved in the procurement the budget allocated to his department earlier in the year for the activities of APRM.”

The report prepared by an anti-corruption overseen by the Focal Point of South Africa, on the case of Durban meeting, remained in the drawers. Contacted some former employees of the deceased minister refused to speak.

South Africa and Ethiopia blacklisted
The other action that remains in the craw of some members of the Panel of Eminent Persons, the 2012 Annual Report of the APRM.
"I place an embargo on it for publishing as it is, it would be a disgrace to the APRM" says Akere Muna.
But why thinking in this manner ?
"This is a project that was mounted for greed, in addition to being full of errors and inaccuracies," says the Chairman of the Panel of Eminent Persons.
For example on page 27 of this report, which copy is our possession, it is mentioned that the President of Uganda is named Denis Sassou Nguesso. On the Pages 28 and 30, the flag of Mauritius is attributed to Mauritania and Mozambique.
Our lady with a hood at Bole Avenue as a think tank that focuses on governance confirmed the concerns that Akere Muna raises about the 2012 Report. And all supported that Assefa Shifa requested by the Panel to explain the financial transactions surrounding the production and reproduction of this report, destroyed, with the complicity of his Communications Officer, Selela Liziwe, all evidence regarding the procurement of services of the Report made in 500 copies.
By going through this report, we realize that there is no trace of the contact details of the printing company that reproduced the document. However, we did find the address of the marketing manager of printing company, Jimmy Andetowa to whom we sent several requests for an interview, that have remained unattended.

"All members and partners are aware of all these malpractices. But no one says anything. The irony is that even the country of Mandela hides the secret. It protects Shifa who knows too much," our interlocutor in the hood notes.

Stop ! Let’s stop for the lights are red. Cars are going through. Then green lights. We can keep walking.

Indeed, during the meeting of 30 January 2014 which was attended by all APRM members and players, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered Akere Muna to only present the actions of the APRM. 
"No mention, ensures Akere Muna, was to be made about poor management at the APRM Secretariat. I am therefore compiled to orders, " he justifies himself in a sarcastic smile.

But what does President Johnson Sirleaf think of the whole situation ? On Jan. 31, 2014, following an interview on malaria with South African journalists, we took the opportunity to ask her a question about her relationship with her co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, Lemah Gbowie. Especially the latter has relentlessly criticized the poor governance that exists in Liberia. Our intention is of course to slide into the situation that experiences the APRM. As soon as she answers the question about her relationship with Lemah Gbowie, she disappears. End of the interview. People are dismissed. Then a few minutes later, a voice speaks out.
"You’re not a professional journalist !!" says one of the collaborators of Johnson Sirleaf.
"What you have done is unethical” she adds.
Then as if to justify the attack, she mentions
"I say this on the behalf of freedom of expression."

It is 6:48 am. The sun is bright. In the streets, people now wander in tens.
"I must go away," warns our source with the hood.
But before leaving us, she says : "Africa must rise again. And it must begin with the APRM. "

Akere Muna fully supports this initiative. He says there is an urgency to do so. The financial audit of the APRM, he hopes, will give assurance to member States that their contributions are well managed. Moreover, he argues that the Secretariat should be equipped with a competent and motivated staff. One thing that acknowledges a focal point of a country in West Africa. End. To be continued

Assefa Shifa, the Ethiopian by whom the scandal is revealed

It was in 2006 that the UNDP, organization that supports the APRM, affects Assefa Shifa at the Secretariat of the Mechanism in South Africa. First, he was hired as a technician for the management of database. However, the Bank of the South African Development, DBSA was already performing this task, say several sources close to the APRM. 

Despite this, Assefa Shifa, about 1m90cm of height would happen to win, even if he seems harmless.
"This is a gentleman. I did not think he could hurt a fly, " recalls Marie-Angelique Savane. She is one of the personalities who contributed to the establishment of the APRM. 

In fact, explains APRM partner who knows well its players, the timidity of the father of 5 children is manifested to conceal the fact that he speaks broken English, nor does he masters French, Arabic or Swahili. However, according to the texts of the APRM / AU, speaking some of these languages is a condition for employment within the institution. If cornered, ensures a member of the interview Panel who participated in the recruitment of Assefa Shifa in the APRM in 2006, this husband whose sartorial elegance suits with shyness, knows how to adapt to any situation.

"Your CV says you have held leadership positions at IBMand managed a large number of people. But here the position at the APRM is that of a beginner who will be called at any time for troubleshooting. Are you ready to do this ? “

"I will. What I want is a job, "Assefa Shifa answered, according to the former member of the interview panel.

For the latter, the candidate’s response had puzzled him :
"How to understand that a person who claims to have occupied a position of steering at IBM accepts such a position ?"

Once employed, the zeal which Assefa Shifa has shown during his interview, does not materialize. And his actions as a data manager are of poor performance. The Management of the APRM said he did not beneficiate form his expertise.

Moreover, it ensures that from 2006 to 2008, and long after, it is the DBSA which was responsible for the maintenance of the APRM computer network. Despite this, Assefa Shifa received his monthly salary. And from time to time, assured the interim of the Director of the APRM. 

But in July 2008, after the departure of the Director, the Panel of Eminent Persons, claims that he was the oldest staff and appoints him for three months as interim. From there, things started.

Despite being shy, Assefa Shifa turns out to be tricky. In 2010, he managed to corrupt the Panel of Eminent Persons.
“He promises the Panel to plead his case to the President of the Forum, the late Meles Zenaoui, Prime Minister of Ethiopia," recalls the partner familiar with the APRM. 
Assefa Shifa made the offer at a time when there was a battle between the Panel and the Focal Points. This battle was to determine which of the two would control the APRM. Consequently, the Panel thinking that the intervention of Assefa Shifa will be on their favour, confirmed him Acting Director.
And "This is the interim which lasts to this day !” deplores this APRM partner.

And under the leadership of Assefa Shifa, says one of his employees, "he imposes fear and servitude. He gives contracts of two to three months to employees and reminds everyone that he is the one who signs them."

This blackmail, says our interlocutor, silences all who want to challenge him.
And if it’s him, Assefa Shifa, who signs contracts, it seems that he also grants himself certain degrees. As per his CV, he has an MBA I ; academic year 2007-2008. And UNISA, a South African university, would be the one that would have issued the certificate. When we contacted the university, it says it has never issued such a degree. End.To be continued

The disinterest of Heads of State gangrenes of the APRM

The APRM, initiative of the Committee of Heads of State in charge of the implementation of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development-NEPAD wants, for the fulfilment of the development of Africans, to promote democracy, political, economic, and development governance.
Because the mechanism predicts that ultimately, this "good governance could aim to reduce poverty" explains the Mauritian Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, Panel Eminent Person.
But to be sure of the existence of this good governance, says a focal point of a country of West Africa, the mechanism will assess "the strengths and weaknesses of member States in various areas of governance. Thereafter, according to the results of the assessment, the country receive financial and technical support from the international community."

And according to Kojo Busia, in charge of the APRM at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, from its inception, the Mechanism has done a very good job. It could for example, says Kojo Busia, predict the revolts that were to take place in Kenya. It warned the South African authorities against the rise of xenophobia in the country, and Malian officials, on the crisis of partition that would happen in the North of the country.

"But some of these countries, says the UN expert, did not want solutions that the evaluation team proposed to counteract the deficiencies observed. So other countries afraid of assessments are now reluctant to join the mechanism."

Therefore, out of the 54 African countries, only 34 are members. If the other 20 countries do not express great interest in the APRM, the same must be said for those who are members.

"From 1 to 20 of APRM forum we have never seen more than 18 heads of State attending. At the penultimate summit only 05 out of the 34 presidents attended, "deplores the Focal Point of a country in West Africa.

Failure to attend meetings is not the only observation. The APRM documents provide that the Heads of State elect the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Forum. But in reality, they have so far elected only the Chairperson. And this is a problem of governance.

Because "when the Chairperson is not available, there is a dysfunction within the structure," notes Marie-Angelique Savane, a pioneer in the implementation of the APRM. 

For her, "NEPAD and APRM had to have the same Chair because the APRM is to create conditions conducive to the implementation of NEPAD programs. However the current practice does not respond to this spirit.”

Besides this, all African countries are members of NEPAD, but APRM membership is voluntary. This has created an adverse imbroglio to the APRM.

The APRM offered on a plate !
In 2007, at the retirement of Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria as Chair of the Forum, the position, according to the Document of the APRM, was to return to one of the two Vice-Chairpersons of the Forum, either Algeria or Senegal. Against all odds, the Committee of Heads of State proposed Meles Zenaoui, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Besides this infringed, his mandate would have been limited to one year, in accordance with decisions of the Forum in Kigali in 2004, Meles has led the institution from 2007 to 2012. And during his governance, he appointed Gebreab Newai, his advisor, as Chairman of the Focal Points from 2007 to 2013. For nearly six years, therefore, Meles decided the fate of the members of the Panel and also the administration of the APRM and nobody says a word, says Akere Muna.

The other fact is that since the creation of the APRM Trust Fund in 2002, "No Head of State has until now required a forensic audit," said Joseph Tsang Mang Kin.

This Eminent Person emphasizes that since the APRM was established in 2003, with the exception of audit reports for 2005 and 2006, no other forensic audit has been conducted.

"Worse, since 2oo6, it is a single firm, the audit firm PWC that audits the APRM. The irony is that the auditors do not come on the field. They just call. It becomes a routine" laments the other APRM partner.

"The fact that Meles remained for a long time as the Forum Chair is the cause of this poor governance," concludes Akere Muna.

APRM political war
And it is in this environment of poor governance that have been created familiarities and dirty tricks between the States.

The 21st summit saw the celebration of 50 years of the African Union, the Heads of State should vote a single President to lead the APRM and NEPAD. Macky Sall, President of Senegal already, Chair of Nepad should have been the only candidate. In this election night in May 2013 therefore, backstage at the Sheraton where we were, a minister close to the Senegalese President had confirmed that Macky Sall would be the only candidate. Our source told us that Macky Sall had received support from Liberia to that effect. But Macky Sall, once in the room, was surprised to see Liberia apply.

"His advisors gave him some wrong information. They had failed to tell him that it was staged between Liberians and Ethiopians for that he guards down,"says one diplomat familiar with ECOWAS.

Then the diplomat adds, "Macky not wanting problems gave up and the position went to Liberia." End. To be continued

Conflict between instances of the APRM

According to the Documents of the APRM, the Forum of Heads of State is the supreme organ of the Mechanism. It defines the overall policies and guidelines. Currently, its President for two years is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Then follows the Panel of Eminent Persons. Its independence is supposed to ensure the integrity and credibility of the country review process. As the Secretariat, it provides administrative support to the Panel and the Committee of Focal Points, composed of representatives of each member State.

These structures have worked more or less in harmony, until in 2012, Meles Zenaoui, Chairperson of the Forum of Heads of State and its focal point, to have more control over the finances and activities of the Panel, created the Committee of Focal Points, CFP, which subsequently became the Management Authority of the APRM. 

And "Since 2012, the Panel is no longer in charge of administrative and financial affairs" of the APRM, says Akere Muna.

This new structure, the CFP, consists of ministers and senior officials. In their countries, they are cronies of those in power, so inclined to defend the interests of presidents they represent within the APRM explains an APRM expert. These politicians oversee the APRM Secretariat ; they are supposed to assess, says our interlocutor.

But according to the Mauritian, Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, the creation of the CFP "was not included in the basic documents of the APRM, so its intrusion has raised quite a stir because it stood by its composition and functions as judges and parties in the process.“ Now, he adds, "The CFP is considered superior Panel that would be a technical body."

But well before the establishment of the CFP, the Panel was responsible for overseeing the Secretariat. According to Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, the imposition of the CFP has undermined the credibility of the evaluation process of countries, since the moral authority and integrity of the process that guaranteed the Panel directly appointed by the Heads of State, have flown away.

In addition, the APRM still lacks legal personality. It operates since 2002 on the basis of a provisional headquarters agreement specifies Akere Muna. This situation has lapsed for 10 years and so delays the integration of the African Union APRM as an agency. End. End. End.


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