ZIMBABWE which is set to assume the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) at the 24th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethopia this week is expected to prioritise peace and security in the continent, as without peace Africa cannot develop, Government officials and political experts have said.
The 24th AU Summit that will be held from Friday to Saturday this week in Addis Ababa, Ethopia will be running under the theme “2015 Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.”
President Mugabe who last year took over the Sadc chairman position is the first Vice-Chairperson of AU. President Mugabe will be taking over from President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.
“The chairperson’s top priority will be peace and security across the continent. We have to move forward as united and the continent should never surrender its sovereignty to anybody and should not lose sight, that people in the continent come first, we are their servant hence we are accountable to them. The President will need our support as a country and as well as continental leaders,” said Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo who is also the Minister of Economic Planning.
“We feel greatly honoured that our President is going to assume the position. This is in recognition of his tremendous contribution as a tested leader not only in Zimbabwe but throughout the continent. As a country we are going to shoulder the responsibility with unity of purpose. We must be guided by the principle and the charter of African Union. Since all countries have gained independence the focus will now be on economic emancipation. This cannot be achieved without peace and security,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
Political commentator Mr Gabriel Chaibva said the continent should do away with puppet leaders and allow African problems to be solved by Africans.
“African leaders should be united and ensure that outsiders do not dictate the solutions to African problems. President Mugabe demonstrated to the entire world that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans hence that should be the song and attitude that African Heads of State should embrace. Africa is for Africans,” said Mr Chaibva.
Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) director Ms Sakhile Sifelani said the taking of the chairmanship comes at a time when the country was making significant strides in promoting women empowerment. She, however, said the country should guide other African countries in ensuring that women were placed at the centre of development.
“The theme sets a good tone in ensuring that 2015 become a women’s year,” said Ms Sifelani. “We are calling for African leaders to ensure that they put more money on women issues. This implies that in all the budgets, African countries must ensure that there are funds that are directly channelled to women.”
On the economic front, Mr Chaibva said President Mugabe a true advocate of black empowerment will transform the continent and inspire it to adopt value addition and beneficiation which has been adopted by Sadc member states.
“We are looking forward to seeing African leaders taking a positive stance as the Sadc leaders did by embracing value addition and beneficiation. It cannot make sense to see member states suffering yet they have all the resources, where we live like beggars and depend on donors yet Africa is endowed with a lot of resources. It is through value addition and beneficiation that African leaders can develop their respective countries and create employment for African people,” said Mr Chaibva.
Africa’s agenda 2063 is an approach to how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next 50 years.
The agenda emphasises on the importance of rekindling the passion for Pan-Africanism, a sense of unity, self-reliance, integration and solidarity that was a highlight of the triumphs of the 20th century.
Source: Sunday News