By Mpho Tebele
Gaborone – The race to clinch one of the most prestigious postings in international affairs, that of Executive Secretary of the Southern African Community (SADC), is shaping up into an intense battle between two candidates.
Initially, it looked like the quest to succeed Dr Stergomena Tax at the Gaborone-headquartered secretariat would be a canter for Botswana’s Mr Elias Magosi – up until the DRC government recently announced that it too was putting forward a candidate, Professor Faustin Luanga Mukela.
Dr Tax’s second four-year term at the helm ends in August 2021.
Botswana and the DRC are the two SADC member states eligible to present a candidate for the Executive Secretary’s post this time around, and the two countries have launched diplomatic charm offensives to secure the coveted post for their respective countrymen.
This past week, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi was in Malawi to lobby President Lazarus Chakwera for support in Mr Magosi’s bid.
President Masisi’s Press Secretary Batlhalefi Leagajang said, “In leading Mr Magosi’s campaign, President Masisi is fulfilling his commitment to use his Presidency to ensure that Botswana occupies strategic positions in international organisation.”
The DRC is also lobbying hard.
According to the DRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DRC, “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 said.
The ministry also said Prof Mukela had more than 25 years of national and international experience, and possessed all the necessary assets to steer SADC towards deeper, sustainable integration.
But this CV has not overawed Botswana.
After all, Mr Mogosi is the Permanent Secretary to the President and Cabinet Secretary as well as Head of the Botswana Public Service.
Botswana notes that Mr Magosi has a wealth of experience and requisite leadership competencies gained in executive management in both the public and private sectors, as well as within international organisations.
Mr Magosi served as Deputy Permanent to the President from May 2018 to February 2020. He has served also as 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.
“At the private sector level, Mr Magosi served as the Cluster Head of Human Resources, Consumer Banking, Southern Africa, at Standard Chartered Bank Botswana, from January 2013 to October 2014; and, Group Head of Human Resources, at Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited, from July 2010 to December 2012,” the Botswana government has said.
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.