African Union Fires Ambassador To U.S. Who Demanded That France Return Artifacts To Africa

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
African Union
The African Union terminated the appointment of its ambassador to the U.S. after she demanded that former colonial powers return Africa’s artifacts. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is no longer the African Union’s ambassador to the U.S. Original photo via Change.org

The African Union terminated the appointment of Arikana Chihombori-Quao, its ambassador to the U.S., after she demanded that former colonial powers such as France return the artifacts of 14 African countries that Europeans have held since the 1960s.

Chihombori-Quao, a Zimbabwe-born, U.S.-trained Ghanaian doctor, became an ambassador in 2017 and had strong views on France’s influence over its former African colonies, which she shared publicly in a video that went viral.

Sustained colonization by France is responsible for siphoning off $500 billion from Africa annually, she said. Her views were perceived as undiplomatic.

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat fired Chihombori-Quao in an Oct. 7 letter, saying she was relieved of her position in line with the commission’s rules.

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African Union decision leads to backlash

Chihombori-Qua, a career diplomat, served in various capacities for the African Union. Her dismissal has led to a backlash from the African Diaspora Congress, a group that is demanding her reinstatement via an online petition.

Chihombori-Quao’s political appointment came to a natural end and she was not being punished for her views, according to Ebba Kalondo, a spokeswoman for the African Union chairman’s office.

“This is normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere,” Kalondo said in a statement.

“To state that Ambassador Chihombori’s termination of service is due to any pronouncements she has made, or opinions she may have held during her three-year tenure is patently untrue.”