JK stops bid to sway AU on military govts

jakaya_kikwete.jpgPresident Jakaya Kikwete has stopped an attempt to sway the African Union (AU)`s stand he upheld during his one-year term as Chairman of the continental body, on military coups.

Kikwete emphatically differed with the newly elected AU Chairman Libyan
Leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the Senegalese President Abdoulaye
Wade, who had presented a request to the Summit that membership of
Mauritania and Guinea to the AU be restored.

The two countries were suspended from the AU after democratically
elected leaders in those countries were overthrown by their military.

In his contribution on Tuesday, to the applause of members at the
United Nations Conference Centre Economic Committee for Africa
(UNCC-ECA) in Addis Ababa, who gathered for the 12th Ordinary AU
Summit, Kikwete requested his fellow leaders in Africa to be honest
when discussing important issues about African development.

His intervention was supported by scores of African leaders, including
Presidents Idriss Deby of Chad, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Ethiopian
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a move that closed the discussion.

Previously, President Wade had defended his call to allow military
governments in AU, saying a military coup particularly that which took
place in Guinea was different from other coups, adding that the
military leadership in Guinea was being supported by people.

President Wade had told the Assembly that when he visited Guinea people
gathered in the streets chanting in support of the new military regime.

Military officials took over leadership in the two countries last year when the AU chairmanship was under President Kikwete.

As AU chairman, he ordered immediate suspension of the two countries from AU.

“I request you my colleagues let`s be honest in discussing these
issues. It is very simple for the army to organize people into the
streets and make them sing praises.

But this cannot be the basis for changing the AU`s position on the matter,“ he stressed, adding:

“You can do anything when you have a gun, and I know that because I
was once in the army. Under military rule, you can even call for a
referendum and get 99.9 per cent. But my brethren lets respect our AU`s
fundamental principles as we agreed,“ he said.

“There is never a good military coup, and we must stop these from
happening. Let`s not go back to the 1960s and 1970s. A person who wants
to become a president must enter politics and seek the people`s
consent,“ he insisted.

“If you want to become a President, first resign from the army, as I
did, and I did so when I was still young and now I am a president,“ he

In his contribution, President Deby of Chad said there were no good
military coups in the world, insisting that discussing the matter was
“wasting precious time“ for nothing.

President Museveni said the duty of the army was to protect and ensure harmony of the nation.

“Now, these people instead of doing their work, they are now trying to rule people,“ he said.

Ethiopia`s Zenawi for his part said: “Perhaps these issues are
important, but they are not necessary. We are leaders, why should we
spend all this time discussing worthless issues.“

Meanwhile, the First Lady Salma Kikwete has said HIV/Aids was still a
big challenge to African countries and that joint efforts and
cooperation are needed to defeat poverty in the continent.

Salma said this when opening a meeting of the Organisation of African
First Ladies. She said First Ladies are a strong voice that can help in
educating women and youths on the issue related to HIV/Aids, but they
lacked resources.

“We are the agents of change, but what we are missing are resources, otherwise, we can,“ she said.

Meanwhile, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said here yesterday
multi-party politics imposed on Africa from abroad has brought only
chaos but steps towards forming a federal government for the continent
provide a ray of hope.

Gaddafi, who has just taken over from President Jakaya Kikwete as
African Union Chairman, has for years called for a United States of

He sees the move as the only way to meet the challenges of
globalisation, end endemic poverty and resolve conflicts without
interference by the West.

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