6 May 2017

Africa: Uganda to Chair African Union Peace and Security Council

Photo: Africa
(File photo).

Kampala — The outgoing ambassador to Uganda's multilateral mission in Ethiopia, Mull Sebujja Katende, has been elected chairman of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of May.

Ambassador Katende, who also doubles as the Permanent Representative to the AU and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), took over the mantle from Togo's Toba Sebade on Wednesday during the PSC's tenth retreat to review the implementation of its work methods and the decisions taken since 2017 held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. The retreat ended on May 5.

The PSC is the standing organ of the 55 member continental body charged with prevention and resolution of conflicts. Each of the 55 member states of the AU chair the PSC sessions for one month on a rotational basis.

"During the month of May, the PSC will, besides holding a retreat on its work methods, consider a number of other key issues relating get to African Peace answer security in line with the Protocol that sets up the PSC," Ms Margaret Kafeero, the head of public diplomacy in the ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The topics for consideration during Ambassador Katende's stint, Ms Kafeero indicated, include an open session on Children and Armed Conflicts in Africa; undertaking a PSC Field Mission to Darfur, Sudan; and adoption of the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism for Silencing the Guns in Africa by the year 2020.

The AU heads of state during the last summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, approved a blueprint to end war in Africa by the end of the year 2020. By committing to end fighting in Africa in four years' time, the political executives set themselves a challenge steeper than any they have ever set before, according to observers, because the causes, many of which have been highlighted by PSC are diverse and conflict.

The retreat in Kigali was opened by the Rwandan Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who said the last years have been marked by a lot "positive expectation from different corners of our continent" and which should be carried forward.

Ambassador Katende, perhaps the only career diplomat still standing, was early this year reassigned to Washington to replace Ambassador Oliver Wonekha who was moved to Kigali. Although he is yet to assume office, insiders the move was precipitated by the need for a person with a wide-ranging skills to deal with the new President Donald Trump administration.

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