Dr Ochuodho fights suspension from AU body

African Union Chair Moussa Faki has been sued following suspension of majority of members of a committee affiliated to the continental body over claims of violation of rules governing its operations.

The African Union Chair Moussa Faki has been directed by the High Court in Nairobi to file a response within 14 days in a court case in which he is accused of abuse of office and misuse of African Union resources by majority members of the continental body’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) Standing Committee.

ECOSOCC is an advisory organ composed of different social and professional groups of AU Member States. Its work is to provide an opportunity for African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to play an active role in contributing to the AU’s principles, policies and programmes.

On Tuesday at the Human Rights and Constitutional Division of the High Court, the parties were in court to confirm that AU, ECOSOCC and the Chair of the AU had been served court documents from Kenya.

Judge Hedwig Ong’udi confirmed that the respondents had properly been served. Despite serving them through email and courier, they failed to attend court.

Lawyer Atieno Ogolla for Dr Ochuodho told court that the respondents violated human rights of those suspended. “The respondents violated the human rights of our clients’ guaranteed in Kenya and Africa and that’s why we are in court,” said Lawyer Ogolla.

The complaint arose after Dr Shem Ochuodho, a member of the body was suspended alongside other members in 2022 of the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).

Dr Ochuodho had been suspended from Africa Union’s Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) where he was a member.

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The AU said it had suspended Dr Ochuodho alongside other ECOSOCC members after internal investigations found them to have committed misconduct and breach of its legal norms.

 “The African Union Commission hereby makes reference to the investigation conducted by the Office of Internal Oversight (010), pursuant to Executive Council Decision EX.CUDec. 1115(XXXVlll) of February 2021, paragraph (ii) which requested “The Commission to conduct an independent investigation by the relevant Department of the Commission into current and future alleged violations of the African Union Code of Ethics and Conduct by members of the ECOSOCC General Assembly, and to recommend appropriate sanctions through the Bureau of the Chairperson of the Commission.

Those who were suspended from ECOSOCC also include Abozer Elligai Elmana, (Sudanese), Abdurrahman Mokhtar (Libyan),  Roll Stephane Ngomat (Gabonese), El Hacene Abdallah Bah Mbareck (Mauritanian), Tunji Asaolu (Nigerian) and John Oba (Nigerian).

Dr Ochuodho was suspended for violating the AU Code of Ethics and ECOSOCC Rules of Procedure and section. The case will be mentioned on 13 of June for the court’s directions.

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