24 January 2013

Zimbabwe: President Leaves for AU Summit

President Mugabe has left Harare for Addis Abbaba, Ethopia to join other African Heads of State and Governments at the 20th Africa Union Summit. The summit will be held under the theme "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance". President Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Joice Mujuru, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu senior Government officials and service chiefs.

This year's summit comes at a time when a number of civil conflicts have arisen in countries such as Mali, the Democratic Republic Congo and the Central African Republic over the past year while troops from Sudan and South Sudan have occasionally fought along the two countries' disputed border.

The resolution of these armed conflicts is likely to take centre stage while the African leaders will also seek to chart the continent's development agenda as it enters its 50th year of regional cooperation.

Speaking after meeting, the outgoing African Union chair and Benin President Boni Yayi in Harare last week, President Mugabe said Africa was not united as was expected by the founders of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.

The OAU was founded here and changed its name to the African Union (AU) in Durban, South Africa in 2001 with leaders envisioning a continent united politically, economically and culturally.

"We may, by virtue of history, have been divided by certain boundaries and especially by colonialism but our founding fathers in 1963 showed us the way and we must take up that teaching we got in 1963 that we are one and we must be united," said Cde Mugabe.

Cde Mugabe said the African leaders should at this year's summit discuss the integration of the different regions of the continent adding that there was also need to explore the idea of having a president of Africa.

"This is what we must go and discuss but we must also discuss the issue that divide us."

Mr Yayi said the crises in Somalia, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and DRC were a cause for concern and reiterated Cde Mugabe's call for a fully integrated Africa.

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