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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

TweetThis! Why Tanzanian pulled out of race for UNESCO top post - TheCitizen reports

Lack of support from African countries forced Tanzania's Prof Sospeter Muhongo to pull out of the race for the top post in the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), The Citizen can confirm.

The election of the Unesco director general was scheduled to be concluded in Paris last evening. Prof Muhongo told The Citizen by telephone from Paris yesterday that he pulled out after many African Arab countries opted to vote for Egypt's Culture minister Farouk Hosni. "A meeting of African countries decided to join the Arabs and other Islamic countries and vote as a bloc for Egypt's candidate,"he said.

Prof Muhongo said he had the full support of Tanzanian leaders, but added that it was not enough to counter plans by other African countries.  Those who had supported his candidacy included President Jakaya Kikwete and retired presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Ali Hassan Mwinyi.  "The Government has offered me its full support. I cannot blame anybody (at home). The problem is among us Africans. We don't even have a 'Plan B' as our European colleagues," Prof Muhongo said.  He added that African and Arab countries did not have a "Plan B" in case things did not go as planned for their preferred candidate.

However, the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry said it was not aware that Prof Muhongo had pulled out of the race for the Unesco top post.  Acting permanent secretary Francis Malambugi told The Citizen that the Government had not received official notification from Prof Muhongo on his decision to withdraw his candidacy.

Ms Irina Gueorguieva Bokova of Bulgaria and Hosni were the two remaining candidates yesterday after an inconclusive fourth round on Monday.  The fifth and final round was scheduled to take place last evening.

Earlier this week, UNESCO's 58-member Executive Board interviewed all nine candidates and then discussed those interviews in a private meeting. Voting was by secret ballot and a winner is chosen by a simple majority of the board.  The person elected will serve an initial four-year term. The current director general, Mr Koiro Matsuura of Japan, ends his second term in November and is not eligible for re-election.
Read Prof. Muhongo's short bio and the full story via: Thecitizen.co.tz

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