By By Mwala Kalaluka in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tue 17 July 2012, 11:00 CAT
DR Kenneth Kaunda says current African leaders should continue working together for the continent's best interests.
Dr Kaunda, Zambia's first president, said in an interview at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Saturday night that he was attending the 19th AU Summit currently taking place in the Ethiopian capital as a former leader who was still active.
"We are behind our leaders who are coming as Heads of States. We are coming as former heads still active," Dr Kaunda said.
Dr Kaunda said his participation in the AU deliberations, which come to a close in Addis Ababa today, remind him of the time he was involved in the fight for the liberation of countries in the southern region of the continent, starting with Zambia.
"We came from fighting for Zambia then from there, continued to join our colleagues in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia until they also became independent. It's a wonderful time, it's a wonderful time," Dr Kaunda said. "Now we are coming to meet to see what we can do together and we are busy also with my colleagues to help them fight HIV and AIDS."
Dr Kaunda said the current crop of African leaders should make the issues of fighting poverty with its offshoots of hunger, ignorance, disease, crime, corruption and above all exploitation of man by man a priority.
"Those are their duties, their functions," said Dr Kaunda.
During the opening of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Governments yesterday, AU Commission chairperson Dr Jean Ping said the continental body was ready to contribute a force to put a final end to the conflict devasting the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dr Ping said the countries bordering the DRC had a crucial role to play in ensuring that the activities of armed forces in the eastern part of the country are given a definitive end.
United Nations deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson said that conditions in the eastern part of the DRC had been deteriorating and that the violence must end immediately.
A UN report has cited Rwanda as the one supporting the rebellious elements in Eastern DRC.
Newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said Africa and issues affecting it were a priority for his leadership.
President Mursi, a US-educated moderate Islamist who ascended to power in that country's first democratic elections, said the Egyptian Revolution was a demonstration of the popular will.
President Mursi, who was among the new African leaders welcomed to the AU Assembly, said the people of Egypt put him into office so that he could join his African brothers in striving for a fair and humane economic order.
"The time has come to ensure that Africa takes its place," said President Mursi. "The human being is the real factor of development."
Labels: KENNETH KAUNDA