Donald Trump’s infamous undermining, threatening and driving out of her position of the American ambassador to the Ukraine earlier this year -– now an key element in the impeachment inquiry of the President -– contains gross similarities to the terse termination just months later of the African Union’s ambassador to America.
The attaks on and removal of both ambassadors has reeked with politically motivated subterfuge as the removals of both respected diplomats have included smear campaigns. The smearing of America’s Ukraine ambassador occurred before (and after) her removal. The the campaign against the African Union’s American ambassador occurred weeks after her removal…seemingly a retro action designed to justify for her removal.
Marie Yovanovitch, the now former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador, presented her case of threats and mistreatment during the nationally televised impeachment investigation by the House Intelligence Committee.
As for Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, the now former American African Union Ambassador, she recently issued a formal written statement detailing her mistreatment by the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Details contained in Dr. Quao’s statement raise disturbing questions about the veracity and very integrity of AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Issues in Quao’s account share similarities with Yovanovitch’s accounts that once again underscore Trump’s profound aversion to truth.
Quao’s five-page statement is captioned “Rebuttal of the Malicious and False Allegations” made by Mahamat. The Quao statement declares Mahamat “embarked on a smear campaign” against her that includes charges of various improprieties.
Those charges against Quao – not cited in her early October 2019 termination letter from Mahamat -– appeared after the launch of an online petition seeking Quao’s reinstatement that has garnered over 100,000 signatures, the launch of a separate petition seeking removal of Mahamat and criticism of Quao’s termination inside and outside the African continent.
The African Union is the organization that represents 55 African countries. The African Union Commission is the AU’s operational arm. Mahamat, as chair of the AU Commission, is CEO of the African Union and serves a four-year term.
Dr. Quao, a physician, wrote in her rebuttal, “I took a virtually unknown Mission and turned it into a vibrant well-respected Mission in Washington DC. I accomplished all this with limited staff and resources.” (Spokespersons for Mahamat did credit Quao for fulfillment of a mandate of her ambassadorship: to increase support for the African Union among the African diaspora in the Americas.)
Prior to issuance of Mahamat’s charges in a November 15th Communique, he insisted that Quao’s removal was not a reaction to her public critiques of ravages across Africa from European neo-colonialism. Quao has particularly pinpointed policies/practices by France that siphon billions of dollars annually from the African continent. France’s former African colonial empire includes Chad, the country where Mahamat once served as Prime Minister.
Countering Mahamat, many around the world see Quao’s searing critiques of continued Western exploitation of Africa and her Pan-African advocacy as factors in her removal from the ambassadorship she had held since 2016.
Jerry Rawlings, the former president of Ghana, tweeted a statement that linked Quao’s removal to her critiques. Rawlings stated that her removal “can best be described as coming from French-controlled minds.”
Curiously, Mahamat did not claim Quao had engaged in numerous instances of misconduct until nearly forty-days after he terminated Quao in a letter issued on October 7th.
Mahamat’s retroactive charges against Quao conflict with praise for her tenure as AU’s representative in the United States contained in Mahamat’s Oct. 7th termination letter.
Curiously, that letter contained no explanation for the termination.
Curiously too, Mahamat’s ccomplaints about and charges against Quao were not mentioned in the report of a ten-day audit review of Quao’s office in Washington DC conducted in mid-October by a six-member Transition Team that Mahamat had dispatched.
Quao, in her rebuttal letter stated she had responded to all questions raised by the Transition Team and provided all requested documents. That team issued a Clearance Form, signed by Team members and Quao, that listed no problems.
“The Clearance Form specifically indicated there were NO pending issues,” Quao stated in her rebuttal. “If the Team thought they had found anything credible, why was it not indicated on the Clearance Form? The Form clearly stated there were no outstanding issues.”
Quao’s rebuttal stated that in “hindsight” the November 15th Communique “now gives the impression that the Transition Team actually came to find a reason retrospectively as to why my contract was terminated.”
A representative at the AU’s Mission in DC stated she was “not in a position to answer any question” about the Clearance Form. When questioned further about specifics of Quao’s termination that person did not reply.
Mahamat’s November 15th Communique criticized Quao for launching initiatives/programs without his awareness and approval. Those activities, the Communique stated, were “conducted…without prior knowledge or consent of the African Union.”
However, Quao’s rebuttal stated that she had informed Mahamat’s office of all her activities in quarterly reports. “I fail to understand why the Chairperson was not aware of the activities taking place at the Mission as I reported them to him quarterly as required.”
The many items listed in that Communique included a charge that Quao collected donations and funds “in the name of the African Union Mission with no evidence that any amount collected were deposited in AU accounts.”
Quao’s rebuttal stated that she, “never” received any donations for the AU during her tenure. “The Mission could not accept any funds.”
That Communique, before delineation of Quao’s alleged misconduct, said her termination resulted simply from expiration of her three-year ambassadorship appointment.
Dr. Quao, born in Zimbabwe, earned two science degrees from Fisk University and her medical degree from Meharry Medical College. She practiced medicine in Tennessee for decades.
Quao held a few AU posts before the ambassadorship. In 2009, for example, the AU’s then ambassador in America appointed her Chair the African Diaspora Health Initiative (ADHI).
Ironically the ADHI is one of 12 entities Mahamat’s Communique claimed Quao initiated without required “formal approval.”
Quao’s Rebuttal noted, “If [the ADHI] was not an AU-approved program why was this not raised during my predecessor’s tenure? I did ask the Transition Team this question but they did not give me an answer.”