Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma yesterday said all was set for the convening of the AU mid-term Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, next month, where several Heads of State and Government are expected to attend. The summit will be held between June 14 and 15.
Briefing journalists soon after meeting AU chairman President Mugabe at State House, Dr Dlamini-Zuma, who arrived at noon yesterday, said she was in Zimbabwe to consult with the AU chairperson on preparations for the summit.
“I just came to brief and get guidance about the summit and that is exactly what we did,” she said.
“We discussed how the summit will be structured, who will be doing what and we are happy with the guidance.”
Dr Dlamini-Zuma was flanked by President Mugabe and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi when she addressed the media.
She said the AU Summit had been moved from Durban to Johannesburg after failing to secure venues owing to the last-minute withdrawal by Chad which was initially supposed to host it.
“Unfortunately Durban was full at the time, they tell us, because if you recall the summit was supposed to be in Chad and then Chad pulled out (at) the last minute,” said Dr Dlamini-Zuma.
“By the time they tried to get Durban, because Durban is warmer in winter, so many meetings take place there, so there were international meetings already booked. That’s why it is going to be in Johannesburg.”
Asked if they expected 100 percent turnout, President Mugabe said: “We always had a 100 percent attendance, but not necessarily by Heads of State.”
The summit will be held under the theme: “Year of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.
Turning to the continent, Dr Dlamini-Zuma said there were a number of challenges in African countries such as Burundi, Sudan, Somalia and Mali.
In Mali, President Mugabe witnessed the signing of peace accords between the Tuareg rebels and the government in Bamako last week.
“As you know on Tuesday I was in Tanzania because the East African Community was meeting on Burundi,” said Dr Dlamini-Zuma on arrival at the Harare International Airport.
“So, I went into that meeting. They condemned the coup, but fortunately now there is no coup (anymore).
“We decided that the environment right now was not conducive for election and we were appealing to the authorities in Burundi to postpone the elections. But not too far; within the mandate because the president’s mandate expires in August (2015), just to give himself and the Burundians and the region time to calm down the situation so that the election takes place in a calm atmosphere.”
On Nigeria, Dr Dlamini-Zuma said the AU was awaiting the inauguration of newly-elected leader Mr Muhammadu Buhari on May 29.