Happiness Zengeni in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reiterated his pledge to preserve the legacy of former President Robert Mugabe while assuring the 30th African Union Summit underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the nonagenarian is well and safe.
In his official opening remarks as one of the new crop of leaders in the continental body, alongside President George Weah of Liberia and President Joao Lourenco of Angola, President Mnangagwa expressed his gratitude to African leaders for the warm welcome he received, especially from Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr Hailemariam Desalegn, with whom he had a bilateral meeting.
President Mnangagwa assured the Summit that former President Mugabe was well and safe.
“May I inform this august chamber that, your brother, President Mugabe is safe, secure and well,” President Mnangagwa said to applause, adding that it was his duty as leader of the current administration in Zimbabwe to preserve former President Mugabe’s legacy as the founding father of the country.
President Mnangagwa told the Summit that Zimbabwe had seen a peaceful transition and that it was looking forward to working with all countries.
The African Union respects principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference in internal disputes and regional cooperation and President Mnangagwa thanked the Sadc region and the continent as a whole for giving Zimbabwe a chance to solve its internal challenges without outside interference.
There is also increasing acceptance that to achieve structural transformation on the continent, Africa must look for homegrown solutions and learn from its own experience.
“The transition was very peaceful and we are happy that we faced challenges as a nation and managed to resolve the challenges as a nation. We wish to thank Sadc and the whole continent.”
New Liberian President Geoge Weah also received a warm welcome from the assembly pledging to work closely with his counterparts on the continent in advancing the developmental agenda, so too did Angolan President Joao Lourenco.
During the opening session, the keynote address was delivered by outgoing AU chairman President Alpha Conde of Guinea, whose one year mandate expired on the eve of the 30th AU summit of heads of state and government. The Summit ends today.
The incoming chairperson of the AU President Paul Kagame of Rwanda delivered his acceptance speech and then introduced the theme of the summit “winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation”.
Other speakers during the opening session included chairperson of the AU commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres who delivered a solidarity message and commended progress registered under the UN-AU framework on enhanced partnership in peace and security.
President of the state of Palestine and chairman of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary general of the league of Arab states also delivered solidarity messages.