Home » Governance » AU Hails President Mugabe As a Man of Peace

The African Union Commission is satisfied with the way President Mugabe has discharged his affairs as the continental bloc’s chair and has described him as a man devoted to peace, unity and development.

Officially opening the meeting of AU Defence Ministers on behalf of AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma here yesterday, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui of Algeria, said the presence of President Mugabe in Mali this week was testimony of his commitment to amity.

President Mugabe took over the AU chairmanship in January and his ideas on unity, resource nationalism, value addition and beneficiation are gaining currency among African member states.

“As we speak, President Mugabe has travelled to Mali to oversee a very important event of the continent, that is the signatory today (yesterday) of the peace agreement between the Malian government and the opposition in the north,” Ambassador Chergui said, amid thunderous applause from the defence ministers.

“This has been a very difficult process to achieve and the presence of President Mugabe, Chairperson of the AU, at the ceremony is not only testimony of his dedication to the African peace, security and development, but it is also another signal of his leadership and the way he is handling the affairs of the African Union during this year of his chairmanship.”

President Mugabe yesterday witnessed the peace signing ceremony between Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s government and Tuareg separatist rebels.

The AU played a key role in brokering the ceasefire that is expected to bring peace in the Sahel region after years of armed conflict.

Ambassador Chergui said Africa faced an upsurge in terrorism and extremism with its eastern, western and northern regions being the most affected.

As such, he said, a fully operational African Standby Force would deal with such incursions.

“While it is important to address some of the contributing factors such as poverty and lack of opportunities, it is also vital that we mobilise the necessary intelligence to effectively fight terrorism and to address the conditions that give rise to radicalisation and extremism,” said Ambassador Chergui.

“The AU support of the Multinational Joint Taskforce against Boko Haram is an embodiment of the continent’s stern efforts to combat terrorism. In this regard, I commend the joint efforts of Nigeria, Chad, Benin and Niger and the results achieved by that combined effort is a model that can be replicated in other parts of the continent faced by similar threats.”

Ambassador Chergui said the continent now needed to focus more on conflict prevention to add value to on-going peace efforts.

“Prevention is better than cure,” he said. “The speedy operationalisation of ASF is critical and requires continued political engagement and resource mobilisation by all of us. The AU has heavily relied on financial resources from partners in support of peace operations.”

Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi said the operational capability of the ASF would be tested during the AMANI Africa 11 exercise slated for later this year.

“The need to find African solutions to African problems cannot be underestimated and we should be in line with the aspirations of our founding fathers as well as the need to safeguard the fundamental freedom of our future generations,” he said.

“We ought to be cautious of being overdependent on foreign assistance in solving our problems.”

AMANI Africa is a joint initiative of the AU and the EURORECAMP aimed at validating the operational readiness of the ASF.

Source : The Herald