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AU Commission Chief: African Leaders Should Stop Brutalizing Citizens’

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Commission Chairperson

African Union (AU) Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, says African leaders should stop brutalizing people in their nations.

In her 2017 message, Dlamini-Zuma said, “Our governments and leadership are there to protect the vulnerable, to serve the people; not to be the cause of the people’s suffering and retrogression.

“Several successful elections were held in membersStates, and we congratulate the peoples and governments for their commitment at each election, ensuring smooth transitions, and moving a step further towards realizing the spirit and letter of the African Charter on Elections, Governance and Democracy.

“We urge member states with electoral disputes to respect the will of the people, abide by their national and international obligations, as well as resort to all non-violent and legal means in resolving electoral disputes.”

Dlamini-Zuma said the AU’s top priority would be to focus on young people.

“As we begin 2017, the theme is ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investment in Youth’. The youth constitute over 70% of the African population and remain a critical part of our most precious resources. We look forward to working with regional economic communities, civil society, AU organs, member states and all partners in furthering the youth agenda.”

She added that in keeping true to the theme, the AU Commission is heading a focused ‘End Child Marriage Campaign’ so as to ensure that the girl child is not diverted from attending school.

She noted that the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security also embarked on aStop Violence against Women in South Sudan Campaign’ in response to the violent atrocities committed against women and children in South Sudan in the background of an internal military conflict.

“We have repeatedly stated that Africa and the world cannot stand by and witness the suffering inflicted on the children, women, men and young people of South Sudan. Enough is enough. Africans deserve better, and we must all work towards better days, and towards peace, stability and development, not only in South Sudan, but also in Burundi, Central African Republic, The Gambia and others. Our people deserve peace & development.

She said the AU remains committed to work with member states to ensure that lasting peace is restored under Agenda 2063 flagship project, ‘Silencing the Guns by 2020’.

In 2017, Heads of States and Government will elect a new chairperson of the AU Commission at their 28th Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For the first time, five candidates participated in a live televised Debate, termed MjadalaAfrika. It was organised by the AU Leadership Academy on December 9, 2016.

Dlamini-Zuma said, “It gave the African citizenry an opportunity to hear the plans of their would-be chairperson. This debate was unprecedented and a milestone our history. We hope we can have more debates of this nature, around critical issues, including employment, economy, migration and many more.