We won’t be rushed into USA – Skelemani

The formation of a single government of the United States of Africa (USA) is not something that can be rushed, says Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Phandu Skelemani.

He was responding to a proposal by Libyan leader Colonel Muammar
Gadaffi at a recent African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Skelemani said in an exclusive interview with Mmegi in Gaborone
yesterday that many African leaders were against rushing the creation
of the USA government, citing logistical problems as well as their
national beliefs and interests.

Skelemani said they have long called for the strengthening of regional
economic communities like the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS), and Common Market for East and Southern Africa
(COMESA). "We are not going to accept this. We have always said that we
can only form a union government through these blocs," he said.  Even
the renaming of the African Union, to be called African Union
Authority, came as a surprise to most leaders at the Addis summit.
Skelemani said the announcement was made and the response was a round
of applause in the Hall. He added that they were told that ‘The Elders’
had agreed on it but it remained a puzzle who the elders are.  "The
main debate came when we enquired about what the mandate of the
‘Authority’ would be as well as its powers.  The secretariat was given
a few minutes to make a draft of what its role will be and there was no
agreement," he said. The Foreign Affairs Ministers were given three
months to look at the draft document and to report back to the

Skelemani revealed that during all the debates, the Libyan leader, who
does not believe in democracy, grew impatient, as he wanted everything
to be rushed upon. Skelemani argues that Africans first need to reach
an agreement on common values before they could think of having a
single government. "We must all have a common understanding of the
meaning of Botho, or democracy, before we can consider sharing a
government," he stated.

He said that Batswana believe in democracy and holding elections every
five years, while Gadaffi believes that he should be a leader for
life.  "In Botswana we believe in democracy and going for elections
every five years, and he doesn’t. So I don’t know how we are going to
be in the same government," he said. He accused Gadaffi of under
estimating the complications and repercussions of rushing such a
complex issue as having a continental government.  "It was like he
thought that he would just pinpoint people as ministers," he
said.Meanwhile, Gadaffi was recently crowned the King of Kings by some
African traditional leaders in whose company he attended the summit. 
He ascended to the AU chairmanship because of divisions in his region
that resulted in big countries like Egypt and Tunisia withdrawing their
nominations for the position.  The chairmanship of the AU rotates every
two years across the regions.

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