PRESIDENT Michael Sata has shown true leadership qualities by campaigning and supporting the candidature of Felix Mutati as the next Secretary General (SG) of Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Mr Sata urged countries that attended the Boao Forum for Africa summit to support former Zambian Finance minister Felix Mutati as the next SG of UNCTAD.
The President who could have easily supported the candidature of any member from his political party opted to leave politics out of development and campaigned for Mr Mutati (MMD) who is already a popular figure in that area.
Mr Sata made the appeal in his usual bonhomie style before delivering his remarks at the economic summit’s opening ceremony held on the coastal island of Boao south of the Chinese capital Beijing.
He said Zambia for the first time in 50 years was applying for the prestigious UNCTAD position and joked that since the Zambian delegation was the only black delegation it deserved the support of the forums’ participating nations.
Based on the tradition of geographical rotation, the next head of UNCTAD should come from Africa.
At least four applicants from African, including Mr Mutati were lobbying for the high-status job.
The Geneva-based UNCTAD would have a new SG by September.
Foreign media reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is vested with the power to nominate the new UNCTAD chief, heads an opaque selection process where he refuses to even name a short-list of candidates, as with all other senior appointments in the world body.
Mr Ban’s choice was expected to be routinely endorsed by the 193-member General Assembly, which had never rejected a nomination from an SG.
The next SG of UNCTAD, in addition to all the necessary experience, knowledge and management abilities, was expected to have the capacity and courage for independent thought.
The last seven UNCTAD heads were Raul Prebisch from Argentina, Manuel Perez-Guerrero of Venezuela, Gamani Corea of Sri Lanka, Alistair McIntyre from Grenada, Ken Dadzie of Ghana, Carlos Fortin from Chile and Rubens Ricupero of Brazil.
Established in 1964, UNCTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.
Some of the countries that participated in the forum whose support was lobbied were hosts China, Brunei, Mexico, Peru, Finland, Australia, Algeria and New Zealand.