Libyan head Gaddafi takes over new African Union Authority

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Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Monday assumed the chairmanship of the African Union, as African leaders meet to discuss pressing continental matters.

The leaders are focusing on the issue of infrastructure, as a key ingredient in the unity of the continent, a day after a landmark decision to create a new African Union Authority was arrived at following extensive discussions on the issue.

The issue of unity becomes more urgent as steps are being taken towards the formation of the Union Government, which could be proclaimed during the next Summit in July.

On Monday, African leaders paid tribute to their departed colleagues, among them the late Guinean President Lansana Conte and the late Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa, who took ill while attending the last Summit in July in Egypt.

Outgoing AU Chairman and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said that he was pleased to have led the organisation, which focused on various issues affecting the continent.

The Tanzanian President briefed his colleagues on the key activities undertaken during his tenure as the AU Chairman, including the peace process in Kenya, which led to the formation of a unity government in that country after a fractious election.

The Tanzanian leader also recalled the AU’s intervention in the crisis in Comoros. The AU sent a military team into the Comoros, which ousted a group of military rulers who declared control of the Island of Anjouan.

The outgoing chair also touched on the series of peace mediations and negotiations which the AU oversaw during his tenure.

He recalled that the resolutions of the Sharm El Sheikh Summit in July, 2008, for the formation of a coalition government in Zimbabwe after the disputed polls in the country, was respected and fully followed up during subsequent region mediation.

He said that the situation in Somalia remained fragile even after the election of the new President, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who also attended the Summit hours after he was elected.

President Kikwete said that while the AU did not oppose any efforts to prosecute individual African leaders, such efforts must not endanger the security of a majority of Africans, especially in Darfur, in an apparent reference to the indictment, on war crimes and other charges, of President Omar el-Bashir of Sudan.

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