African Union Appoints Congolese Doctor, Jean Kaseya As Head of African CDC

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On Sunday, the African Union appointed a public health expert, Dr. Jean Kaseya as the new director of the Continental Agency for Disease Control and Surveillance.

Jean Kaseya, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will lead the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the agency that helps member states deal with health emergencies and develop public health programs.

The Presidency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo made a statement, declaring it a victory over a “secret struggle”.

Jean Kaseya

Diplomatic sources told The EastAfrican RDC that the selection of Dr. Kaseya was based on the campaign of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), of which President Tshisekedi was the outgoing president. 

Also, read; Congo demands $17 billionaire more in infrastructure investments from China deal

Gabonese President Ali Bongo will succeed him in less than a week. The bloc confirmed Dr. Kaseya, who needs at least two-thirds of the votes to win straight from the 55-member African Union.

The 53-year-old doctor beat out 180 candidates from a shortlist of three, including Kenyan Ahmed Ogwill, who served as the CDC’s interim director for Africa.

It is the culmination of a six-month secret diplomatic battle led by President Felix Tshisekedi. With this vote, the DRC has just won a major diplomatic victory by taking this position,” Tshisekedi’s office said.

At the CDC, Dr. Kaseya replaces Cameroonian-American virologist John Nkengasong, who has led and overseen US President Joe Biden’s HIV/AIDS program (PEPFAR) since May 2022.

This is the African Union’s highest position for the DRC since Gérard Kamanda’s tenure as Secretary-General of the defunct Organization of African Unity, a forerunner of the African Union.

The Office of the President noted, “It is also evidence that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has reclaimed its place in this institution from which it was barred from voting.”

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