Two of Africa’s giant nations Nigeria and South Africa have allegedly withdrawn their support for Zambia’s nominee for the position of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) secretary-general, Felix Mutati.
Sources within the diplomatic sources have told the Watchdog that both South Africa and Nigeria feel insulted by the conduct and luck of respect and diplomacy by the Zambia government led by president Michael Sata.
Nigeria were the first ones to withdraw following the maligning of their companies in former president Rupiah Banda’s corruption cases.
“As you may know, the first case involved Access Bank over the Mpundu Trust linked to the first lady’s housing apartments and now the bogus oil deal that Mr. Banda is facing corruption charges”,
“Now the behaviour by Vice-president Guy Scott who insulted the South African government and its people in the influential UK newspaper which has hit headlines all over the world resulting in the summoning of the Zambian High Commission to South Africa”, sources said.
Sources said even before Guy Scott’s statement on there was a pending issue of the Post newspaper, which is a PF mouth piece, on their conduct at the South African High Commission offices during Mr. Banda’s visit recently which is believed to have been the work of the PF government of Mr. Sata.
Diplomatic sources said Nigeria and South Africa may actually frustrate Zambia’s efforts to have the Lunte MP Felix Mutati take up that position despite his enormous qualifications and experience.
President Sata announced that Zambia was fielding former Commerce Minister in the MMD government Felix Mutati as its candidate for a top United Nations job.
In his opening remarks at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in China’s southern coastal town of Boao, Mr Sata appealed to the international community to support Zambia’s candidature for the position of “I would like to advertise that for the first time in 50 years, Zambia is applying for the position of secretary-general of UNCTAD and former Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Felix Mutati is our candidate.
“So, I am asking you to go and ask your representatives to support our candidate at the UN,” President Sata said.
UNCTAD was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body and is the principal UN organ dealing with trade, investment and development issues.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will nominate a new UNCTAD secretary-general this year to succeed Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, a Thai national who has held the post since 2005.
Mr Mutati held the positions of deputy minister of Finance and minister of Commerce in the MMD government.
Last year, Mr Mutati sought to become opposition MMD president but was defeated by Nevers Mumba.
Leading academics and public officials have urged Mr Ban to appoint an internationally-respected figure to lead the Geneva-based UNCTAD, amid fears that a weak appointment would further sideline the UN trade and development body.
At least four Africans, including Mr Mutati, are vying for the prestigious job.
UNCTAD will have a new secretary-general by September and according to a long-standing tradition of geographical rotation, the next head should come from Africa.