Saturday, January 26, 2013

AU to honour KK

AU to honour KK
By Roy Habaalu
Fri 25 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE African Union will honour Dr Kenneth Kaunda for his contribution to the liberation of Southern Africa. And President Michael Sata is today expected in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend the 20th session of the Africa Union heads of state summit.

Zambia's Ambassador to Ethiopia Francis Simenda said the African Union (AU) had approved Zambia's request to honour its founding president for his role in liberating southern African countries.

He said the honouring of Dr Kaunda in May, would be part of the activities to celebrate 50 years of the African Union' existence from inception when it was called Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

"I am happy to tell you that after we made an intervention at the AU, as you know AU will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in May this year, a number of activities are being planned at national and here at continental level. If you look around the conference here, look at the pictures of those that contributed to this organisation, you don't see the picture of president Kenneth Kaunda here. We did put in a request (and) I am happy to inform you that Dr Kaunda will be honoured this year here at the AU for the role he played in the liberation of southern Africa. You know Zambia sacrificed so much of its resources, the manpower to liberate the southern region, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and so on," he said.

Zambia last year complained that Dr Kaunda's portrait was missing among other African presidents that were displayed at the organisation's headquarters in Ethiopia.

Simenda said it was important that leaders that sacrificed for the good of the continent were honoured.

Earlier, Simenda said President Sata who would be accompanied by his wife, Dr Christine Kaseba, would be part of the meeting that would peer-review Zambia ahead of the summit.

"The summit will look at a number of issues, among them conflicts in Africa. For Africa to develop we need to have peace in various member states. There are a number of conflict areas in Africa, the situation of Mali, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), therefore, focus will be made to see how heads of states can resolve these issues. We are beginning to have a new trend of people wanting to overthrow legitimately elected governments through the back door. The AU made a decision that any government that comes into place through unconstitutional means will be suspended from the AU," said Simenda.

And opening the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU' s executive council at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa yesterday, AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the institution's 50th commemoration activities must enable member countries to tell their own story.

She said Africa must demystify, appropriate and popularize its own history and narrative in honour of the past generations and to inspire current and future generations.

"This year is special, for we will be commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of our continental organization (the OAU) - hence the theme, 'Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance'. This means that we have the additional task of taking forward preparations for the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary in May," said Dr
Dlamini-Zuma at her first address to the AU Executive Council.

"Our 50th Commemoration activities must enable us to tell our story: the story of Africa's rich pre-colonial history of great civilizations, its struggles against slavery and colonialism and its process of nation-formation and state-building over the last fifty years."

She said the founders of the OAU had fulfilled the mission they had
defined for themselves to liberate the continent from colonialism.
"Young people must have a voice in the affairs of the continent," Dr
Dlamini-Zuma said. "We must maintain a healthy balance between
achieving peace and advancing development. We cannot sustain peace if
there is no development and we cannot sustain development if there is
no peace."

And Dr Dlamini-Zuma said the structural budget of the African Union where member states fund the operational budget while external partners finance the bulk of the programme budget is unhealthy and unsustainable.

She said the inadequacy of resources was not helped by the trend of creating more and more African Union institutions.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma said while the importance and usefulness of such institutions cannot be doubted it did not speak well of the AU if it continued establishing institutions while failing to sustain existing ones.

Other issues on the agenda of the AU heads of state summit are youth unemployment, poverty reduction and mortality rate.

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