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The outgoing Chairman of the African Union, President Mugabe, has been elected Rapporteur of the AU Bureau for 2016, keeping him in the leadership of the continental bloc for yet another year. After revealing that President Idriss Déby Itno of Chad would succeed him as the AU Chair, President Mugabe was himself announced as Rapporteur.
This means President Mugabe will have been on the AU Bureau for three years by the end of 2016, having been elected to the body in 2014 when fellow African leaders made him their First Deputy Chair. Last year he chaired the bloc and this year he continues on the Bureau.
The AU Bureau steers the bloc’s activities and comprises the Chair, three deputies and the Rapporteur. For 2016, the other members of the Bureau are Deputy Chairs Benin, Rwanda and Libya. And on taking over the Chairmanship, President Déby conceded what a tough job it would be to emulate President Mugabe.
His first words on taking to the podium were: “It is not an easy task to succeed His Excellency President Robert Mugabe as you all know.
“I doubt that I have the words, that I have the language, the frank and direct language, nor his capacity. But we will try and do our best.
“He (President Mugabe) served his term with passion and determination and has attained the objectives that he laid out.”
This was after President Mugabe gave one of the most memorable addresses to the AU Assembly at the 26th Summit of Heads of State and Government here yesterday. That rich address, which on several occasions was stopped by sustained applause and ended with an extended ovation, hearkened back to other great speeches in Addis Ababa by fellow continental giants such as Ahmed Ben Bella, Haile Selassie I and Julius Nyerere.
But before he used his renowned wit, attention to detail and fiery passion to good effect in his speech, President Mugabe also received plaudits for his leadership from AU Commission Chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
She praised the historical contextualisation he gave proceedings during his tenure, his political acumen, towering intellect and the dose of humour with which he eased things along.
The applause rang loud as she departed from her prepared address and said, “Let me thank the Chairperson of the Union for the excellent guidance over the past year…
“Gratitude must also go to the Foreign Minister (Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who was Chair of the AU Executive Council) and the Ambassador (Permanent Representative to the AU Mr Albert Chimbindi).” by Mabasa Sasa.source-sunday mail