Gaddafi pledges to reform AU top political post

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi assumed the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) on Monday, and immediately pledged to work towards reforming the post before relinquishing control.
Gaddafi said he reluctantly assumed the chairmanship of the continental organisation, after initially shunning it in 2002.
The Libyan leader, whose leadership of the organisation came a day after a landmark decision to create an African Union Authority was arrived at, said he had been asked several times to explain his ambition to lead Africa.
However, he said his intention had always been to push for reforms of the pan African institution from the backseat, insisting that his long advocacy for the unity of Africa had nothing to do with the so-called ambition to lead the AU.
The Libyan leader rebuffed his critics, saying that the founders of the pan African organisation, like Kwame Nkrumah, would be proud of the steps so far taken to unite the African continent.
He said the push for African unity was not a Gaddafi idea but a popular demand from Africans.
"African people wanted the unity of Africa, not Gaddafi as an individual," the Libyan leader said in his acceptance speech, soon after taking over the chairmanship of the AU.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who vacated the chair in favour of the Libyan leader, also called for widespread reforms of the role of the African Union Chairman, saying it ran the risk of being a burden to the country that was chairing it due to the sheer reason of the financial resources involved.
President Kikwete told the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who was present at the AU Summit on Monday, to consider widespread reforms to the UN Security Council to give automatic membership to the African country chairing the Assembly of heads of state and government.
He said that the AU must urgently consider setting aside a budget for the country that chairs the organisation to enable the chairman to effectively lead it.

02 february 2009 13:52:00




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