Thursday, January 17, 2013

(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe presses for Africa President

Mugabe presses for Africa President
16/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has urged the African Union (AU) to consider appointing a president to help foster greater continental unity and integration.

Mugabe, who was speaking to journalists in Harare Tuesday after meeting outgoing AU chairman and Benin President Boni Yayi, said the vision of the Organisation of African Unity's founders for greater continental integration and unity was still to be achieved.

“We really have not become integrated as an African people into a real union. And this is the worry … that we are not yet at that stage which was foretold by our fathers when they created this organisation,” he said.

“We are not there yet. As we stand here people will look at us, as me Anglophone, him Francophone, you see. There is also Lusophone, but we are Africans first and foremost. Africans, Africans! Look at our skin.

“That’s our continent, we belong to one continent. We may, by virtue of history, have been divided by certain boundaries and especially by colonialism.

The AU replaced the OAU in 2001 but a proposal to set up a "United States of Africa" mooted by slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi failed to gain enough support from his counterparts with many doubting his real motives.

Heads of state chair the AU on a region-based rotation system with the AU Commission, which sits in Addis Ababa, serving as the organisation’s executive and administrative arm.

But Mugabe suggested that time was right to press the vision of the OAU’s founders for a continental presidency.

He said:

“Our founding fathers in 1963 showed us the way and we must take up that teaching that we got in 1963. That we are one and we must be united … get out of the regional shell and get into one continental shell. The continent of Africa!

“This is what we must become. And there, we must also have an African head. He was talking of the president of Africa. Yes, we need one. We are not yet there.

“This is what we must go and discuss, but we must also discuss the issues that divide us.”

The Zanu PF leader also insisted that elections to choose a substantive government expected this year would be free of the violence experienced in 2008.

He told his counterpart:

“We have also had divisions, political divisions, but I am glad that we all appreciate that whatever political affiliations we belong to, we are Zimbabweans.

“That is the understanding. That is how we have groomed ourselves into that kind of understanding and I think our elections are going to be very friendly elections in the sense that they will be a political fight but it will be a fight in the knowledge that we belong to each other.”

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