The Herald (Harare)

24 May 2013

Africa: AU Set to Honour Nkomo, Chitepo

Addis Ababa — ZIMBABWEAN veteran nationalists and national heroes, Father Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Zanu national chairman Cde Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo, are set to be posthumously honoured along with a galaxy of African liberators for the role they played in ushering independence not only to Zimbabwe, but across the African continent.

Vice President Nkomo died on July 1, 1999, while Cde Chitepo was assassinated by the Rhodesian security forces in Zambia in March 1975.

As part of the programme on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee celebrations here, the African Union will honour continental and Diaspora African heroes, among them Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Oliver Tambo of South Africa, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, William Du Bois, to mention just a few.

Other African luminaries who excelled in other disciplines, among them Brazilian soccer legend Pele and Zimbabwean author Doris Lessing, are also expected to be honoured for their achievements though Lessing - who is being honoured as one of the earliest African writers - is not expected to attend as she is currently incapacitated.

Zimbabwe's Ambassador to Ethiopia Andrew Mtetwa confirmed the development last night, saying the AU would be acknowledging all the revolutionaries who made it possible for the continental bloc to be where it is today.

"The late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo and Cde Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo will be posthumously honoured with African liberation medals for the role they played in the decolonisation of Africa," Ambassador Mtetwa said.

The Golden Jubilee celebrations will be attended by more than 50 heads of state and government and 41 former presidents and President Mugabe will join other world leaders, among them US President Barack Obama, Russian president Wladimir Putin, Brazil president Dilma Roussef and Cuban president Raul Castro to mention just a few.

The celebrations, being held under the theme "Pan Africanism and African Renaissance", involve a plenary of heads of state and government expected to come up with Agenda 2063, a blueprint for the African Union over the next 50 years geared at bringing socio-economic and political transformation to the continent.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs began a two-day meeting pursuant to that on Wednesday.

The weeklong celebrations will culminate with a meeting of heads of state and government of the AU who will be joined by foreign dignitaries for a plenary session that is expected to enrich Agenda 2063.

President Mugabe arrived here yesterday evening to attend the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The President, who is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, was met at Bole International Airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe

Mumbengegwi, Ambassador to Ethiopia Mtetwa, Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture Wondirad Mandefro and embassy staff.

On arrival the President inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Ethiopian Presidential Guard before being whisked to his hotel.

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