Gaddafi rejects Executive Council's recommendations

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Sirte - Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi on Monday refused to accept the outcomes of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) leaving the member states divided again.

In what was meant to be the closing session, just after 10pm, the leader demanded that issues around the transformation of the AU Commission to the AU Authority be included in their recommendations that will be submitted to the 13th Heads of State Summit, scheduled to start on Wednesday.

The meeting was scheduled to discuss the proposed authority's functions, size and the financial consequences of establishing this authority. However, Mr Gaddafi used the opportunity to push for the radical transformation of the commission.

"We can see that it's going to be a difficult discussion for the Heads of State because as you can see the chairperson does not want to accept what has come out of the council of ministers," Ayanda Ntsuluba, the Director General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation told BuaNews.

He said South Africa is not against the fact that the commission needs to be strengthened and transformed, however the establishment of the AU Authority cannot be achieved in one giant leap.

Earlier in the day, Mr Gaddafi had met with President Jacob Zuma and International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane behind closed doors. It is not known what they discussed but it is suspected that Mr Gaddafi was trying to lobby South Africa into agreeing to the radical transformation of the AU Authority.

The African diplomats, represented by 50 out of the 53 states of the AU, kicked-off their discussions on Sunday on the effects of the transformation.

In February this year, African leaders who met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, unanimously agreed to transform the AU Commission into an Authority with positions for Secretaries, as opposed to the current system of cabinet posts headed by Commissioners.

But the leaders are still deeply divided on whether the transformation would be radically different from the current administrative structures.

The ultimate goal for the transformation is the setting up of a Union Government for Africa.

On the formation of the Union Government, Dr Ntsuluba reinstated South Africa's position that regional integration had to be achieved before the formation of a single government could be realised.

"In as much as South Africa supports the integration of Africa, we first need to seek regional integration before we proceed to continental integration as a gradual approach," he explained to BuaNews.

However, in his opening speech to the Council on Sunday, Mr Gaddafi emphasised the need to accelerate the transformation of the AU Commission into an Authority, adding that the Commission had put in place a new plan to oversee the transformation.

"The formation of the AU authority is a necessary step for Africa to be capable of defending its political, economic and social interests," the leader told the session, adding that the African continent cannot form a union government without the mandate or authority to govern, a matter that they felt might impact on the sovereignty of states.

However, differences have emerged on its feasibility, including the areas of competence, the role of the regional economic communities and the impact of the union government on the respective sovereignty of the member states.

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