President voted AU deputy chair


President Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart President Michael Sata arrive at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.— AFP

Morris Mkwate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
President Mugabe was yesterday elected First Deputy Chair of the African Union, rendering futile a decision by the European Union not to invite him to a summit of the two blocs slated for Belgium in April.The AU Executive Council was firm in that Europe should not be allowed to dictate to African Heads of State and Government who will attend the summit.

The resolution will be tabled for adoption at today’s 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly. President Mugabe’s election to the post, to which he was seconded by Southern Africa, positions him to assume the AU chairmanship next year.

The President also chaired an Extraordinary Sadc Summit here that lifted regional sanctions imposed on Madagascar following a 2009 coup in that country.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is the current SADC Deputy Chair and will chair the regional bloc from next year’s summit.

Announcing the composition of the five-member Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, outgoing AU chair Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia said Mauritania landed the top post and would be deputised by Zimbabwe (first deputy chair); the DRC (second deputy) and Nigeria (third deputy).

DRC also assumed the responsibility of rapporteur. The bureau is the AU’s supreme organ, tasked with steering the agenda of the continental grouping.

Each of Africa’s five regions seconds a member to the bureau in line with the AU constitution. Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said membership of the bureau signified Africa’s strong support for Zimbabwe.

“It is the growth of confidence in Zimbabwe. Secondly, the First Vice Chair normally becomes the Chair of the African Union. So, chairmanship of the AU will come from Southern Africa next year, meaning Zimbabwe is in the running.

“This is particularly important in the sense that, as you know, there is the AU-EU Summit in April this year. The EU had decided, and I would be surprised if they maintained the position, that President Mugabe should not be invited to the summit.

“Two regions have spoken. Now, how could one say they do not want the First AU Vice Chair to be at the summit? That would be ridiculous; it would be absurd! It means the EU decision has gone up in smoke.

“In fact, the (AU) Executive Council has taken a decision, which will be tabled for adoption, that the European Union can only determine the EU delegation and has no right to dictate to Africa which Heads of State and Government should attend.

“The AU has said all those in good standing with the continental grouping will attend.”
Turning to the Extraordinary SADC Summit, Minister Mumbengegwi said President Mugabe led the gathering as the Chair, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, was absent.

He said the summit resolved to lift sanctions on Madagascar and also received a report on the subsequent elections and inauguration of President Hery Rajaonarimampianina this month.

“Sadc met under President Mugabe and decided to lift the sanctions. We were also briefed on the eastern part of the DRC since the defeat of the M23 rebels. The situation is stabilising. The government has done well, working together with the Sadc force.

“The rebels have been routed. However, there was an understanding that vigilance should be maintained in spite of the prevailing situation.”

President Mugabe attended a lunch meeting where leaders interfaced with young people from different parts of the continent who highlighted areas governments should refine to meet the needs of the youth.

Key points of concern were education and employment. President Mugabe highlighted the role of parents, governments, communities and other stakeholders in educating children.

He said youths could contribute to development once critical education aspects such as entrepreneurial skills and psychomotor development were embraced.

The President also attended the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly, which launched the continental grouping’s theme: “2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security; Marking 10th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).”

At the official opening, newly-elected AU chairperson President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania said there was need to support agriculture as a chief economic driver.

He said social protection programmes should be expanded to benefit more people, adding that promoting agricultural value addition and investment were imperatives.

“Preserving the environment and ensuring that food security no longer represent only a legitimate aspiration for our countries, but constitute compelling objectives due to the current food crisis and negative impacts of climate change.

“To achieve these goals, our countries should combine their efforts in order to increase cultivated areas and improve productivity through the modernisation of rural infrastructure, the promotion of agricultural research and popularisation of the most efficient farming techniques.”

Also addressing delegates in the main plenary hall, which was yesterday named Nelson Mandela Hall in honour of the former South African President who died last year, Ethiopia’s Mr Dessalegn said more countries were meeting targets set under CAADP.

One of these targets is for AU members to allocate 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture. Zimbabwe has exceeded the threshold since CAADP’s adoption in 2003, except during the tenure of the inclusive Government.

“This is the time to celebrate the progress made over the past decade in implementing goals and objectives set by CAADP and renew our commitment to do more in the coming years and decades,” said Mr Dessalegn.

“In this regard, I am indeed very pleased to note that more and more countries are allocating 10 percent of their national budget to the agriculture sector. The transformation of agriculture holds the key to the success of our collective efforts to realise our vision…

“The issue of peace and security has been our major preoccupation during the past one year. While I am encouraged to note the progress that we have made in resolving some of the conflict situations on our continent, I am nevertheless deeply concerned by the emergence of new conflicts which, if not addressed urgently, will have a potential to seriously threaten our collective peace and security and undermine the gains that we have made in recent years.”

The session ends today with leaders expected to emerge with resolutions on agriculture and food security; peace and security; the status of fragile states; AU-International Criminal Court relations; a draft position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda; and the new vision to guide Africa over the next 50 years.


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  • zimbo

    Congrats Gunshungo!

    Please also chair committees that will investigate all the corruption that is known and to be known, thanks to Herald

  • MT


  • Bornfree

    long live CDE Mugabe, may you liberate Africa.

  • chatunga

    Zvigotipei pedzai huori muno medu.

  • tawanda

    Gushungu ndimi mune yese

  • Jazire

    NYatsoteera unzwe kutonga, Gushungo election yose yavanoiita vanohwina zvine mutsindo. SADC ne AU zvinotonzwa kataura kwaGushungo

  • dlamini

    President takapiwa naMwari, Africa yakapiwa naMwari. Pakusarudzwa vanowona Hunu wemunu, Chokwadi chemunu. Chachiratidzo chechokwadi kunevamwe vose. Gushungo vasarudzwa pasi nekudenga. You make us proud. Congrats Gushungo

  • wenger

    zvinei nesu?

  • magfm

    bhora mugedhi paAU.fambai nebhora Gushungo

    • rukudzo

      We should now propose a $1 contribution from every African in Africa so that our AU is independent financially. No one should try to influence our destiny because of their dollars. Our destiny as Africans, is in our hands. True Bhora mugedi.

  • Kasukuwere

    Interesting main points raised over the preeminence of educating children, social protection programmes, and ensuring food security, highlighting the important role of Government.
    Did President Mugabe cite the success of programmes such as BEAM, constitutional rights of children to receive free education, and solidarity between neighbouring AU nations providing important quantites of food imports to support nations with failed agricultural olicies?

    • Jotham

      Pfungwa dzakaora dzinobva mumuromo womunhu akakurira muBox.

  • jb


  • Matoenda

    Pity that so many people consider the AU as having lost all relevance. Most of the important decisions are controlled behind the scenes by economic powerhouses, a few Arab countries and SA and Nigeria. The rotating AU chair is seen as an honorific sop enabling weaker insignificant nations to feel important for a year, while the same powerful nations continue to pull policy strings year after year.
    Yesterday in a Herald report, it was indicated the AU was seeking US$500 million for African Union peacekeeping forces in CAR. Is the AU incapable of self finance or must it rely once again on Western donors and NATO support for effective and functional intervention, notably France in CAR and Mali?

    • Koffiesak

      According to The African Report 97% of the AU’s funding is from outside Africa. Even the new AU building complex was donated by China.

    • Jotham

      A tasteless comment from a person of a very low intellect. Your commentary is full of useless assumptions trumped as facts. Where did you carry out such research. A black child born with a white brain speaking for his/her God fathers(europeans). I wonder whether black children will ever leave the slave mentality. You are pained by the mere fact that Zimbabwe was chosen. You look at South Africa is a godly nation in Africa. The problems of the wars are ignited by Europeans, and will intervene in African conflicts so that people like Matoenda can look at Europeans(France/Nato) as saviors. There is nothing good from Europeans- the perceived Godly nations..

    • Me

      Hey… What has age got to do with it. Those that selected and voted for him know very well that the guy is blessed and talented in leadership. That guy is God given and yes we will pray harder for The Almighty to guide him accordingly for his is a God given mandate.

      May the almighty bless the MAN. To Gushungo I say go on Our God Given President for Africaaaaaaaaaa……

    • gerro

      France is responsible for all the strife in Francophone nations

  • Drogo12

    God bless Africa. Next year it will be led by a 91 year old? We need to pray. Pray all day and night!

    • Jotham

      We have people(either white/blacks-white men’s slaves) who always assume that God loves them and should think on behalf of Africans. The age factor is used to imply that an Old can’t make a rational decision. If you are offended by what the AU leaders did go and live in Europe.

      • gerro

        Straight to the point Thanks

      • itodo

        i couldn’t have said it any better

    • Me

      What has age got to do with it? Those tht selected and voted for him know his capabilities very well. That guy is God given. Some of you at 70 you wont be able to raise even a hand. Yes we will pray for him and for sure he will lead for its a mandate guven to him by The Almighty. God Bless Gushungo and guide him in his capabilities and wisdom accordingly.

    • Seles

      baba Drogo, do you want to lead? i’m quite sure you cannot lead your life. that is why you spend precious time critisizing others who are blessed instead of improving upon your life. Have you ever bothered to stop and ponder why the Lord allows him to lead? Or are you also questioning the Lord’s judgement? Let those gifted to lead take office and critisize when they do wrong Drogo. It has nothing to do with age. If you are tired yourself, then retire and look back to see whether people will rember you when you are gone. (I certainly doubt that)

      • Drogo12

        God save Africa! Old/Ancient presidents and idiotic blind followers! We need to pray double double!

        • Cheguevera

          Pray for yourself so that you can recover from your brain tumor,,,GOD BLESS OUR MUGABE,,,GIVE HIM MORE YEARS OF LIVING FULL OF GOOD HEALTH…TILL DROGO EATS OWN VOMIT!!!!

      • Mamvemve

        God bless Africa for sure. Who was voting? This is the man who has been screaming about sanctions but we now learn that state managers are earning millions per year which is the REAL reason why the entities are collapsing and not due to sanctions.

      • gerro

        Enda undofa

  • Koffiesak

    Lets hope the AU’s funding is not now cut by its donors. According to The African Report 97% of its funding is from outside Africa…

    • Mawaya Lawrence

      unorwara iwewe.
      who needs dirty western money?
      enda woofa uryiwe ngembwa!
      pasha rineri risare rine fungwa dzinoaka dzega.

  • chatunga

    a panel of thieves and dictators voting one of their own to lead them. Big deal!!!!

  • tiger

    thank you Dhlamini , Gushungo akagadzwa nedenga kutungamira nyika yedzimbabwe . thank you dhlamini for your vision , kwasara UN kuti Gushungo vamupe chimwe chigaro ipapo kusvika pasi rino rarurama. We thank you God for leading our Hero president Robert Gabriel Gushungo Mugabe that far. hamheno kunevanoti abiridzira , ko apa toti vaita sei? pane chiedza chikuru chirikutungamira murume uyu. ndatenda hangu

    • Mukomuredhi weZanu

      Fish and Dlamini , you are both right, Jotham, you are “rightest”…that Drogo12 thing is a jealous failure in his life. He is the type that gets f*****d by whites from the back….the “worse-than-pigs-kind-of-person”. His jealous and irritation at President Mugabe & Zanu-PF will only serve to shorten his poor and miserable life…Long Live President Mugabe…pasi nezvimbwasungata sa Drogo12 thing….wenyu Cde Rovai Nhora paWenella.



  • Zimbo1

    Congrats to the President, Zimbabwe and Africa. These appointments gives Zimbabwe a chance to put forward resolutions that will benefit Africa as we as a country have gone through many situations that have taught us lessons to effectively guide others in a progressive peaceful manner, we know Gushungo can steer the ship safely.

  • Mimi

    So what, age is just a number and this is why other people live much more older than others. If Mugabe is still able then so be it. Hey give the man his due, the man’s genes are out of this world, remember his mother lived for over 100 years. I like President Sata in this Herald item…. go Africa go

  • RobertoTheMugger

    Ko handiti travel time will arrive? As far as I know, if a country does not like an individual visiting, they inform them accordingly, sometimes at the border…..