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Mugabe Elected African Union Bureau Vice-Chair at AU Summit

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwei says the appointment of president Mugabe is an expression of confidence in his leadership

The African Union summit officially opened in Addis Ababa onThursday with President Robert Mugabe being elected First Vice-Chair of the African Union Bureau, a supreme organ of the African Union which is tasked with stirring the agenda of the organization with the assistance of the African Union Commission.

President Mugabe represents Southern Africa in his new post, with four other members selected from West, North, East, and Central Africa.

His appointment as first Vice Chair of the bureau makes him eligible for the chairmanship of the African Union in 2015.

Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwei told state-owned ZBC from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Thursday, that the appointment of President Mugabe to this post is an expression of confidence in his leadership and a great honor to the country.

Mumbengegwi added that President Mugabe's assumption of the 1st Vice Chair of the bureau ahead of the Africa-Europe Summit to be held in April this year has dealt a major blow to the European block which would have wanted to block him from attending the forum.


The block had decided that it would not invite Mugabe to the Africa -EU summit.
- See more at: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-42091.html#sthash.SKShAbVD.dpuf
Minister Mumbengegwi said President Mugabe's assumption of the 1st Vice Chair of the bureau ahead of the Africa-Europe Summit to be held in April this year has dealt a major blow to the European block which would have wanted to block him from attending the forum.

The block had decided that it would not invite Mugabe to the Africa -EU summit.
- See more at: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-42091.html#sthash.SKShAbVD.dpuf
Minister Mumbengegwi said President Mugabe's assumption of the 1st Vice Chair of the bureau ahead of the Africa-Europe Summit to be held in April this year has dealt a major blow to the European block which would have wanted to block him from attending the forum.

The block had decided that it would not invite Mugabe to the Africa -EU summit.
- See more at: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-42091.html#sthash.SKShAbVD.dpuf

President Mugabe also chaired an extraordinary summit of the SADC at the African Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, temporarily replacing the current chairperson President Joyce Banda of Malawi, who was not attending the summit.

For perspective on this issue, V-O-A reached political analyst and ZANU PF activist Morris Ngwenya who says President Mugabe deserves the honor he received at the summit and his role at the extraordinary summit, which was dedicated to the issues of sanctions on Madagascar and the conflict at the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was very relevant.


The AU summit opened with a call to resolve the violent crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

The outgoing AU chairman, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, told gathered heads of state Thursday that failure to stabilize the two countries could cause insecurity across all of Africa.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns called on South Sudanese rebels and the government to seek a permanent solution to their conflict.

"The cessation of hostilities agreement provides an opportunity, but it is a fragile one and it is extremely important right now that the leadership, political leaders in South Sudan make a choice to move toward full implementation of that agreement because the alternative is further mistrust and conflict and human suffering."

Burns said the situation in the C.A.R. is a "huge and growing challenge." He called for serious efforts to end violence between Muslims and Christians that has led to a humanitarian crisis.

The AU will host a donors conference Saturday to raise funds for humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations in the C.A.R.

AU deputy chairman Erastus Mwencha told VOA ((English to Africa)) that Africa appreciates the international community's support in addressing security concerns, but that ultimately solutions must come from within.

"The main thing on the ground is to see that there is progress and to see that Africa is not only leading, but that those countries are assuming their own responsibilities. Because at the end of the day, this cannot be brought from external sources, it must be internally generated, and the effort of the African Union is to accompany those countries so that they themselves can move out of the crisis."

It remains unclear, however, how much member countries can do to resolve the conflicts.

During Thursday's session, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz replaced Hailemariam as AU chairman. V-O-A's Jose Gabelow has the details.


The summit of the 54-nation AU concludes Friday.
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