Saturday, November 10, 2012

Former South African President Mbeki Choosen as "African of the Year"

Mbeki chosen as ‘African of the Year’ for Sudan peace efforts

Nov 9, 2012 | Staff writer
Business Day Live, South Africa

Former president Thabo Mbeki named as Daily Trust African of the Year for his work in preventing conflict in Sudan

FORMER president Thabo Mbeki has been named as the Daily Trust African of the Year for his work in preventing conflict in Sudan.

The Daily Trust is a Nigerian newspaper.

Salim Ahmed Salim, Daily Trust advisory board chairman, said in a statement on Friday that Mr Mbeki had been honoured on Thursday night.

"Normally, when we as an advisory panel choose the African of the Year, we look for an ordinary African doing extraordinary things," he said. "But this year in our deliberations we have decided to choose an already prominent African, but someone who, in the context of the Sudanese crisis, has made what we consider to be an extraordinary contribution."

In April, when Sudan and South Sudan were approaching war, Mr Mbeki and an African Union panel negotiated between the two sides.

"For his outstanding leadership of the panel, for his persistent and consistent involvement in the peace process, and for the success of the panel in bringing Sudan and South Sudan back from the brink of war and consolidating a new start in relations, Thabo Mbeki is the 2012 African of the Year," Mr Salim said.

"In honouring president Mbeki ... we are not only recognising this significant achievement, but we are also hoping this will encourage the Sudanese and South Sudanese people, as well as the AU, to stay the course on the road to a permanent peace."

President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to deliver a lecture on Mr Mbeki in Aliwal North, in the Free State, on Friday afternoon. The lecture forms part of a series of African National Congress centenary lectures on the lives of its past presidents.

Mr Mbeki’s office said he was unable to attend the event due to prior "responsibilities around the two Sudans".

In 2005, Mr Mbeki removed Mr Zuma from his post as deputy president, after the latter was implicated in a corruption scandal.

Two years later, Mr Zuma later won the presidency of the ANC from Mr Mbeki at its elective conference in Polokwane. Mr Mbeki was removed from office by the ANC in September 2008 and replaced by now deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, before Mr Zuma assumed office in May 2009.

Previous winners of the African of the Year title include Salifou Fatimata Bazeye, a lawyer from Niger, and South African sports administrator Danny Jordaan.

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