Graft, insecurity dominate AU Summit

Tendai Mugabe in Nouakchott, MAURITANIA
President Emmerson Mnangagwa today joins his counterparts from across the continent for the official opening of the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit, whose proceedings started on Friday with a meeting of the Executive Council of Ministers.

The Summit is themed “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” — a message that dovetails with President Mnangagwa’s anti-graft stance.

The Summit will also grapple with security issues on the continent, and at the time of writing President Mnangagwa was locked in a meeting of the 15-member AU Peace and Security Council.

It could not be immediately established if the June 23 assassination attempt on President Mnangagwa was on the agenda last night, but AU Commission Chair Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat has “strongly condemns the cowardly bomb attack”.

Sadc Chair, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has also said violence and criminality had no place in democratic processes in the region; while UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for “the perpetrators to be brought to justice” and wished “the injured a quick recovery”.

The terror attack resulted in two deaths and more than 40 injuries, including to Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Cabinet minister and Zanu-PF National Chair Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, VP Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Mrs Marry Chiwenga, and ruling party National Political Commissar Lieutenant-General (Retired) Engelbert Rugeje.

In Mauritania yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the Executive Council of Ministers discussed issues ranging from security to reform of the AU.

“The major preoccupation of this meeting was the Peace and Security Council. As you are aware, Zimbabwe is a member of the 15-member nation Peace and Security Council Committee which is responsible for the management of peace and security situation in Africa.

“And consequent to that, it has basically followed that a lot of survey and deliberations and review of the situation on the African continent was then done by the Peace and Security Council; and particularly the situation which is in the Sahel region, the situation in Somalia, and the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“In particular the specific issues in the Sahel region where different initiatives different member states have undertaken; that is the G5 – which is Mali, Nigeria Niger, Libya – who are grappling with the situation in the Sahel region.

“The issue is about the role of the African Union: should it wait for external solutions or support or it should actively reinvigorate the African Standby Force so it can be seen to undertake its role both in terms of dealing with the security threat itself and also even diplomatically?

“The major proposition is that the resources that have been mobilised in Europe where there has been a donor conference should actually be used to enhance the African Standby Force capability to deal with the Sahel situation.”

Dr Moyo said the Executive Council also discussed reform of the AU and the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which expires in 2020.

The CPA Treaty brings together Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and the European Union.

Dr Moyo said deliberations focused on what Africa needed out of the new agreement, and there was a strong lobby for the continent to negotiate as a bloc rather than as individual states.

The EU approaches CPA matters as a bloc.

Said Dr Moyo: “Over and above the normal annual budgetary discussions which it was focusing on, (the Executive Council) managed at least to improve the financial management processes of the AU and the results of which is the reduction of the 2019 budget by about 12 percent which means there is now efficacy through audits and prudent practices which are key to the management of financial management of such an organisation.

“Over and above that, the Executive Council got reports and it is going to discuss the reform of the African Union to make it more effective. Whilst everybody agrees with reforms, the key matter has been the modus operandi of how they are implemented.”

He said one issue was to have member states contribute 0,2 percent of the value of their imports from outside Africa to the AU Budget rather than calculate contributions as a portion of individual GDP.

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