Kigali — The African Editors' Forum today concluded its 5th Biannual General Meeting (BGM), held in Kigali, Rwanda. It was attended by 60 editors from 34 countries, and about 30 from Rwanda, and a historic debate of senior political and editorial leaders was held.
Taef elected its new leadership for a two-year term, including two people seconded on to the management committee to strengthen its activities.
Cheriff Sy of Burkina Faso was re-elected Chairperson, with Faith Mbabazi of Rwanda as Deputy Chair. The new Secretary-General is Emrakeb Assefa of Ethiopia and the Treasurer is Mondli Makhanya of South Africa.
Xavier Deutchoua of Cameroon is in charge of Projects and Leadership, with Aishatu Sule of Nigeria responsible for Media Freedom issues.
Former chairperson Mathatha Tsedu was the moderator for an informal debate entitled "Imaging Africa: roles and responsibilities of political leaders and editors in positioning Africa globally".
The senior political leaders were: H.E. Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Hon. Collins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency, South Africa Hon. Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Rwanda.
The editors were: Ms. Aishatu Sule, Deputy Director News Radio Kano FM Mr. Mondli Makhanya, Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Times Mr. Collin Haba, Managing Editor, New Times.
The debate was a culmination of efforts since 2005 when editors noted that presidents were signing AU protocols which enshrined freedom of expression but were not adhering to them. Taef intends to continue with such debates with heads of states in the future, and discussions are underway with the AU Commission on how to achieve this.
The meeting resolved that the Management Committee should take up an invitation to meet the new Chair of the African Union Commission soon.
Taef Chairperson Cheriff Sy said that with new members and increased strength on its Management Committee, Taef should be able to grow its membership and structures in the five regions of Africa and take its projects further. He noted while closing the meeting that Rwanda has three journalists in jail in relation to laws that criminalise media offenses and requested the Rwandan government to free Vwimana Agnes, Stanley Gatera and Said Mukankusi.
It was agreed to hold the next BGM of Taef (in 2014) in Chad.