Gaborone – Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo have failed to strike a deal on which of their preferred candidates should become the next Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Dr Stergomena Tax of Tanzania ends her second and final four-year term as SADC boss in August this year, and as per a rotational approach favoured by the bloc, Botswana and the DRC are the two countries eligible to nominate a successor.
The 16 Heads of State and Government of SADC, sitting at Summit, will select the office-holder.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has nominated his Secretary in the Presidency and Head of the Civil Service Mr Elias Magosi for the post. The DRC’s candidate, Professor Faustin Mukela is a senior official at the World Trade Organisation.
Speaking to journalists after meeting a delegation from the DRC led by Prime Minister Jean-Michel Kyenge this week, President Masisi said talks to find a compromise on which candidate should proceed unopposed had not yielded a positive outcome.
Prof Mukela was part of the delegation that DRC President Felix Tshisekedi dispatched to try and convince President Masisi to pull Mr Magosi out of the race.
President Masisi said, “They shared with me some reasons why they believe that their candidate is suitable for the post. (They also) requested Botswana to withdraw from the race (and) consider vying for the Deputy Executive Secretary post and contest for the executive secretary later.”
Botswana’s Head of State and Government said he informed the delegation that his country had always backed other SADC member states in their international aspirations – including when the DRC vied for the bloc’s Deputy Executive Secretary post. He said this time around, he strongly felt it was Botswana’s own turn to get the backing of its neighbours for the important post.
He continued, “… we shall continue to seek support from other countries within the region and it is promising. I reiterated our position that the time has come for Botswana to lead the secretariat of SADC.”
President Masisi said the lack of consensus on the matter did not mean bilateral relations had soured.
“The outcome of the elections for the Executive Secretary post should not in any way affect relations between the two countries. DRC will remain Botswana’s ally and a strategic partner in the region,” he said.
According to the DRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Mr Faustin Luanga Muleka is currently a senior official at the World Trade organisation (WTO) where he has been working since 1996. From 2001 to 2003, he was economic and development advisor to the Congolese Head of State, with the rank of Minister of State. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Administrator of the National Programme for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“From 2008 to 2013, he was Head of Department and Regional Co-ordinator for the Department of Africa (a portfolio of 54 countries), Asia and the Pacific (portfolio of 47 countries) within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).”
Prof Mukela has post-graduate qualifications in Economics, Finance and Econometrics from Nagoya University (Japan) and the International University of Geneva (Switzerland).
“As an international researcher on trade, finance and development issues, he advises WTO member countries and regional communities such as SADC on trade and economic governance, integrating trade and industrial policies into their development policies and taking better advantage of global and regional value chains and regional integration processes such as SADC, WAEMU, AFCFTA and many others while participating effectively multilateral trading system,” the DRC Foreign Affairs Ministry says.
Mr Mogosi is the Permanent Secretary to the President and Cabinet Secretary as well as Head of the Botswana Public Service.
He served as Deputy Permanent Secretary to the President from May 2018 to February 2020, and was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. He also served as the Co-ordinator of Public Service Reforms, Office of the President, from January 2004 to February 2007.
And he has experience at SADC level, too, having served as the Director of Human Resources and Administration at the Secretariat from March 2017 to April 2018.
He holds a Master of Organisation Development Degree from the Bowling Green State University (United States), a graduate diploma in Management Services from the University of Bolton (United Kingdom), and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics/Statistics from the University of Botswana.