Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Malawi president to take over as AU chairman

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika. Photo/REUTERS

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika. Photo/REUTERS 

By ARGAW ASHINE NATION Correspondent

ADDIS ABABA, Tuesday

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika is likely to take over African Union chairmanship from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi next January, African Union sources have said.

An African Union senior official told the Nation in Addis Ababa President Mutharika is preparing to take over AU’s rotating chairmanship of 53 member states organisation.

Only Malawi and Lesotho bid for the AU chairmanship which changes annually and was supposed to be taken over by a southern Africa country for 2010.

President Mutharika’s chairmanship was endorsed by Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) foreign affairs ministers gathered in DR Congo last month.

The African Union’s next summit is scheduled in Addis Ababa from January 25 to February 2, 2010.

Gaddafi will make his final international appearance as AU chairman at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen Denmark next month.

As chairman, Gaddafi defended Somali pirates in his first week as AU chairman early this year.

Gaddafi also raised African Union staff salary on the third day of his chairmanship.

Libya hosted two African Union meetings including a continental meeting initiated and sponsored by Gaddafi which aimed at ending conflicts in Africa.

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