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