Sunday, November 21, 2010

African Union Undermining Us, Says SADC

AU undermining us: Sadc

By Mkhululi Sibanda recently in GABORONE, Botswana

SADC countries are concerned with the behaviour of fellow African Union member-states that are undermining the spirit of consensus and have a tendency of unproceduraly reversing decisions of the regional body.

In an interview after the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government to discuss AU issues here on Saturday, acting Fore-ign Affairs Minister Patrick China-masa said Sadc countries were worried about the way things were run in AU.

He said Sadc leaders resolved to find a common ground so that they act in unison.

Minister Chinamasa said Sadc should prepare adequately ahead of the AU Assembly through structured preparatory meetings that consider issues on the agenda and harmonise the regional position.

He said because of the concerns, the regional body proposed that the Sadc chairperson, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba should engage the AU chairperson regarding the concerns.

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika chairs the AU.

Minister Chinamasa said Sadc was also concerned with the way Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was pushing for the creation of the United States of Africa.

Minister Chinamasa said Southern African countries were particularly worried with the way the Libyan leader was breaking other countries’ protocols in pursuance of his agenda.

"Sadc countries are not happy with President Gaddafi as in some cases he is reported to have been mobilising traditional leaders in the region as part of efforts to advance his agenda," he said.

Sadc member countries have proposed to mandate its legal experts to review the strengths and weaknesses of the AU rules of procedure, especially those related to the right of a member State proposing agenda items as and when it deems necessary.

Sadc countries also want its secretariat to strengthen its collaboration and co-ordination with ambassadors from its member States based at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

In another development, Minister Chinamasa and the Sadc executive secretary, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao on Friday evening signed an agreement to formalise an arrangement for the setting up of the regional body’s Peace Keeping Training Centre at St Lucia at Marlborough in Harare.

The Peace Keeping Training Centre is at the moment housed at the KGVI in Harare.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe on Friday evening received a solidarity message from Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Gaborone.

Speaking to Zimbabwean journalists after meeting President Mugabe who is also the Head of State and Government as well as the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the Angolan Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr George Chikoti, said his country enjoyed good relations with Zimbabwe.

"We are sister countries and we enjoy good relations.

"We have a lot in common so my president sent me to President Mugabe to deliver a letter of solidarity."

President Mugabe returned home on Saturday and was met at Harare Airport by Vice-President Joice Muju-ru and service chiefs.

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