Konare calls for stronger AU Commission

By Anaclet Rwegayura- PANA Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union Commission (AUC) must be revamped and strengthened, its outgoing Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare said in Addis Ababa Sunday.
"It is important today that our organization be strengthened and a lesson drawn from the experience acquired over the past four years," Konare told the opening of the 12th ordinary session of the AU Executive Council.
Konare, reaffirming his decision to bow out of office at the end of his current tenure, he said there was the need for the structures of the Commission to be reviewed and its powers revised.
He requested the Council to realize that the AUC chairperson, who is the chief executive of the AU, should have real authority in order to steer team work of the organization.
"Our organization is young.
For two years we have earnestly requested for changes in order to strengthen the Commission because it is not possible to carry on with its present structure," Konare explained.
Referring to the Report of the High-Level Panel on the Audit of the Union that is to be tabled for discussion during the session, Konare said the document should be used as a reference for all in order to improve the effectiveness of the Commission.
The current Chair of the AU Assembly, Ghana's President John A.
Kufuor, set up the panel to review the operations and management of the AU Commission and it has made several observations and recommendations for adoption at this week's summit of heads of state and government.
According to Konare, members of the panel "have done a good work that should be a source of inspiration for the decisions that we are going to adopt".
Underlining the urgency for institutional transformation in the AU, Konare noted that future challenges would require a lot of material and human resources.
"These challenges will not be taken up if the transformation is not brought about in the work of the Commission," he observed.
Konare thanked the Executive Council for the trust it reposed in him to serve the African continent at the helm of the AUC.
He appealed to Member States to ensure that the next Commission could go further to improve the management and take up future challenges.
Konare said: "Let us ensure that we don't move from one audit to another, from one seminar to another and to say: 'No, I did not read very well this time, let us take time.
' "Yes, there are some decisions that require time that we deepen our knowledge, but for two years now we have been talking.
I wish that the new Commission should succeed, that the new Chairperson should succeed.
"We need to establish the necessary conditions, but within the present rules this is not possible.
" He ruled our seeking reelection saying: "I have said very clearly that I am not a candidate and I don't want my mandate to be renewed.
I have affirmed and reaffirmed and I say it again today that I am not a candidate.
"I am not abandoning (the AU).
It's not absconding, but rather now than ever before in another position we shall be there beside you in order to move forward the (continental) integration because outside integration there is no future for us.
" Despite the serious conflicts on the continent, Konare noted that there has been progress at the level of governance and at the level of democracy.
"I am convinced that it's not over night that things will change on the continent.
But everybody who is observing Africa will find that there is mobility.
But it's not enough in order to eradicate poverty.
"There will be no miracle for changes on the continent.
It is not external assistance that will help us change things if we don't make use of our own resources, if we don't make sure that we get better remuneration for our commodities, we don't process our own raw materials and make sure that our markets be not flooded and invaded.
" On ongoing negotiations for economic partnership agreements with industrialized nations, Konare cautioned African countries to watch out that they would not be transformed just into a market.
"If we are not united, then each partner will try to milk us.
We need to take stock of these partnerships.
The partnerships we are building should not impede any bilateral relations," he added.

27 january 2008 17:59:00




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