Counsels representing the African Union Commission and its Chairman Moussa Faki have for the second time failed to appear in a Nairobi court for a case in which they have been sued over irregular suspension of members of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).

The Kenyan courts have since directed Faki and the commission to file a response within 14 days failure to which they will be presumed that they do not intend to file any response. 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 (23, May, 2023) at the Human Rights and Constitutional Division of the High Court, the parties confirmed that AU, ECOSOCC and The Chair of the AU had been served court documents from Kenya. The continental body and its leadership have been sued over blatant disregard of rules governing disciplining of alleged errant members among other illegalities. The Judge confirmed that the respondents had properly been served.

Despite serving them through email and courier, they failed to attend court. Lawyer Atieno Ogolla for the defendants told the court that the respondents violated the 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 court will now on 19th of July 2023 confirm if Mr Faki and the commission have complied with the directives of the court. AU in its press release last year claimed the suspensions complied with the due process of law, whereby the subjects of investigation were given a right to be heard in relation to the allegations levelled against them.

Those suspended as AU claims in their Investigation Report of the 010 made findings of misconduct/infringement of AU legal norms (violation of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of ECOSOCC and provisions of the AU Code of Ethics and Conduct) against the following subjects of investigation: Those affected are Abozer Elligai Elmana(Sudanese), Abdurrahman Mokhtar(Libyan) RollStephane Ngomat (Gabonese) El Hacene Abdallah Bah Mbareck (Mauritanian), Tunji Asaolu (Nigerian), John Oba(Nigerian) and Shem Ochuodho (Kenyan).

The above-listed were accused by AU as follows in the misconducts specified: Abuse of authority/office and unlawful signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with third parties on behalf of AU ECOSOCC ( Abozer Elligai, Roll Ngomat and Abdurrahman Mokhtar; Illegal convening of the General Assembly and destabilization of ECOSOCC ( Ngomat, Mokhtar, Dr. Mbareck, Dr. Shem Ochuodho & members of the Group of Eight). Misuse of ECOSOCC letterheads, logo, stamp/seal (Abozer, Ngomat, and Mokhtar).

Illegal appointment of Evelyn Joe by Dr. El Hacene Mbareck as an AU ECOSOCC Global African Diaspora Forum on Migration and Development in Washington DC. Illegal opening of a bank account in the name of ECOSOCC (UBA: AU ECOSOCC PROJECTS, Account No: 1022334209) in Nigeria (Dr. Tunji Asaolu). The illegal signing of an MOU with DROMI, a Nigerian based NGO and another MOU with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs of Nigeria, on behalf of ECOSOCC (Dr. Tunji Asaolu) Illegal appointment by John Oba of Otunba Wanle Akinboye, the President of Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Nigeria as an AU-ECOSOCC Advisor on Culture and Tourism.

The improper behaviour of Dr. Sheri Ochuodho as a member of ECOSOCC is in violation of Article 8 (1) of the ECOSOCC Rules of Procedure and Section 4 (1) and (2) of the AU Code of Ethics and Conduct.

NB: Barack Oduor is a Freelance Journalist & Communications Specialist from Kenya.