Sunday, May 26, 2013

Africa Celebrates 50th Year of Unity


Africa celebrates 50th years of unity

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 24, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - African countries are marking the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) with was replaced by the African Union (AU) in 2002.

Leaders from different of African countries and others have arrived in Addis Ababa, on Friday to attend the anniversary of the continental bloc.

At the AU summit, African leaders will celebrate past achievements and will discuss how to bringing socio-economic and political transformation over the next half century.

The African Union Commission chairwoman, Dlamini-Zuma, underscored that the aim of the celebrations is to energise and galvanise Africans toward an African renaissance.

Addressing the opening of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council, Dlamini-Zuma stressed that Africa’s leadership should ensure rapid and sustainable change further urging a need of concerted efforts to realise the dream of uniting Africa.

At the AU summit, African leaders are set to adopt a series of proclamations including a resolution that frames continent’s key objectives for the next 50 years.

According to Zuma, African identity and renaissance, integration, social and economic development, democracy, good governance peace and security are areas the draft proclamation of the continental body emphasises.

“We will reclaim the African narrative as we reflect on the past, assess our present state and plan for our future” she said.

Another agenda set is a draft proposal aimed to urge international crimes against humanity trials for Kenya’s leaders to be referred back to their country.

The AU summit of head of states will decide on the draft proposal which was agreed by African foreign ministers on Friday.

Established on May 25, 1963 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the OAU played a leading role in efforts to decolonising African countries and liberating them from South Africa from apartheid.

Currently the organisation is largely engaged in pan African movement and in promoting unity and solidarity of African States.

The AU’s 50th anniversary is being commemorated on the theme: “’Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”.

Conferences, workshops and many other events are underway in connection with the anniversary.

As part of the celebrations there will be a football match between Sudan and Ethiopian national teams on Saturday afternoon in Addis Ababa stadium.

The Sudanese national team arrived in Addis Ababa on Friday. Sudan is one of the founding member States of the Organization of African Unity.

Ahead of the event Sudan has claimed that the AU may adopt a resolution endorsing an collective withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has indicted President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

The Sudanese ambassador to Ethiopia Sir al-Khitm Khalifa said this week that Uganda and Kenya have made a last minute push to include the ICC issue on the AU summit agenda.

The Kenyan government has recently been attempting to terminate the ICC’s case against its new president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for their alleged role in violence following disputed elections at the end of 2007.

Eighty heads of state are said to attend the golden jubilee celebrations.

UN chief Ban ki-Moon, United States secretary of state John Kerry, and leaders from Russia, Sweden, France, Iran, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Ireland and Haiti are among others, who are attending the founding anniversary of the Organization of the African Unity.


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