18 May, 2021

Consensus Candidate

The quiet and unassuming Kofi Annan faces an uphill task as he takes over from Boutros-Ghali

Consensus Candidate

EMPTY coffee cups made for impromptu ashtrays. Security personnel gave up as the world media surged at the doors of the United Nations Security Council (SC) day after day, pencils poised, cameras running and tongues wagging. After current UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali announced that he was 'temporarily' stepping down from candidature, had the Africans come up with other proposals?

Tongue-twisting names circulated amidst speculation that France would continue to relentlessly veto candidate after US-supported candidate, and China would do so to at least one speculated name because of his country's diplomatic relations with Taiwan. When there was no more unity to be found within the ranks of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), whose candidate Boutros-Ghali was, the race boiled down to four: all of whom were nominated by individual states. Amara Essey of the Ivory Coast, Ould Abdallah of Mauritania, Hamid Al Gabid of Niger and Kofi Annan of Ghana.

But all the while, there seemed little or no doubt that a quiet,...

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