By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
The African Union is now claiming that its former Permanent Representative to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, was guilty of misconduct while in office.
In a release, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said, “a high-level team was deployed to the AU Representational Mission to the USA in Washington, DC from October 16 to October 26 to carry out a supervisory audit of the Office activities.
“During this mission, the team found evidence, corroborated by Dr. Quao, that she initiated and implemented with AU funds, activities of entities that have no AUC formal approval or legal link to the African Union, nor any of its organs.”
Mahamat said the AU investigative “team found that some entities, initiatives, associations, and corporates have conducted some activities backed by Dr. Quao without prior knowledge or consent and against the rules of the African Union.”
According to Mahamat, “claims made in social media suggesting that Dr. Quao’s end of tenure is due to any pronouncements or opinions she may have held during her three-and-a-half-year tenure, are blatantly untrue and unsubstantiated.”
However, Mahamat did not say why none of these claims surfaced when he terminated Dr. Quao.
In his letter written on October 7, he stated that Dr. Quao was terminated simply because her contract was set to expire.
Supporters of Dr. Quao pointed out that Mahamat “conjured up the supervisory audit” to cover up the real reason he terminated such a successful advocate for the African Union and the continent as a whole.
“I more than successfully carried out my tenure,” Dr. Quao stated this week.
“When I came here, most people hadn’t heard of the African Union. The State Department said it was closed, and this office was dead. They were using this office as a protocol office, and that’s a shame.”
Dr. Quao, who has previously wondered if her speeches denouncing France’s continued colonization of Africa was the reason for her termination, said Mahamat is merely jealous of her success.
“What I’ve been doing is what the chairman should have been doing, but he’s not capable,” Dr. Quao stated.
“He’s too busy being jealous of me. One gentleman who has been in Washington for 50 years told me that he’s seen ambassadors come and go, but he’d never seen anything like what I’ve been able to accomplish. The AU is now known worldwide, and nobody can deny that. I came to Washington to work, not to drink tea and coffee.”
Further, Dr. Quao has said that the AU never provided her with any directives on how to accomplish the Ambassador’s mission. Thus, she was forced to come up with ideas and initiatives on her own, as well as figure out how to engage and unite the African Diaspora and encourage them to invest in Africa.
Dr. Quao said it was her determination to unite Africans, bringing their knowledge and skills to build their businesses in an effort to help redevelopment efforts throughout the Continent.
The AU has declined further comment.
Dr. Quao received appointment as Ambassador in December 2016.
Immediately, she went to work organizing and successfully implemented programs that renewed interest throughout the African Diaspora.
She openly criticized governments for maintaining neo-colonial policies meant to keep African people separated.
An estimated $50 billion leaves Africa each year because of corruption, and Dr. Quao noted that France still extracts a colonial tax of $500 billion annually from francophone African countries.
Under her leadership, she’s been a staunch advocate for Pan-Africanism.
Dr. Quao started a “Return to Africa” mission that included the campaign to build a Wakanda Village, a project she envisioned built in both Zimbabwe and Zambia as a nerve center for development.
She anticipated raising $5 billion in development funding and that Africans would fund the project throughout the diaspora and would be its sole owners.
The project would consist of five African Centers of Excellence in each of the five regions of the continent, which would serve as nerve centers for development delivering state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, hotels, industrial homes, shopping centers, and other amenities.
“We are going to build the Africa that we want so those [throughout the diaspora] who say I cannot go home because home is not what I’m used to,” Dr. Quao said earlier this year.
Following her termination, many Africans in the diaspora petitioned the AU to get her reinstated. There are close to 100,000 signatures on the petition and those numbers are increasing daily.
Now, Dr. Quao finds herself fighting against the AU to maintain her reputation. She said their claims of misappropriation of funds are false. Also, the AU’s contention now that all programs and projects under Dr. Quao had no formal approval and that it found no evidence that donations and funds collected were deposited in any AU account.
“We are required to file quarterly progress reports,” Dr. Quao stated. “I implemented programs and spelled out in the reports what activity took place, and I forwarded those reports to the chairman’s secretary. All programs, including those for men and youth of the diaspora, were created to bring them closer together, and so youth could understand what’s going on throughout the diaspora.”
Dr. Quao continued:
“Unequivocally, not a single penny was ever donated to the AU under my leadership that wasn’t deposited into the bank. If we received any donations, it has to go to the AU. I refute that there’s no accountability. I posted my quarterly reports, I’ve spoken about these programs, and I’ve spoken about them to the AU and in front of all of the countries.”