Mabasa Sasa in ADDIS ABABA
President Mugabe will this morning address the 26th Ordinary Summit of the African Union, before handing over Chairmanship of the bloc to Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno.
Right now, President Mugabe is chairing a closed session ahead of the official opening of the 2016 Summit.
Heads of State and Government are discussing composition of the Bureau and Drafting Committee for 2016, adoption of the draft agenda and adoption of the programme of work. They are also tackling financial and governance matters.
Thereafter, President Mugabe will formally start the open session and AU Commission Chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and United Nations Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon will deliver statements.
Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to address the Summit.
President Mugabe has been instrumental, during his Chairmanship of the AU, in getting the continent to once again recognise the importance of the liberation of both Palestine, which is largely under Israeli occupation and oppression, and the Saharawi Arab
Democratic Republic, which remains colonised by Morocco.
Morocco pulled out of the then OAU in the 1980s over this issue.
A landmark aspect of today’s open session of the AU Summit is the handing over of archival material referred to as the Hashim Mbita Volumes to the Commission.
After that, the AU chairperson’s post will be handed over.
Another interesting segment follows, with the ceremony of the AU Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards to Professor Tebello Nyokong (South Africa, basic science technology and innovation) and Prof Umezurika Opara (Nigeria, life and earth science).
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