Thursday, November 6, 2008

Principle of non-interference no longer acceptable – Kikwete

The Chairman of the African Union and President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, has dismissed the principle of non interference in domestic affairs among African countries as being old and no longer acceptable.Kikwete who was addressing the 10th Ordinary session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Johannesburg South Africa, said that Africa is on the move and that the continent is currently undergoing tremendous changes in the rule of law and democracy, greater economic prosperity and deeper economic integration which means that all countries on the continent have a collective responsibility to ensure this trend.Noting that since the PAP was created in 2004, there have been elections in 45 countries on the continent, the Tanzanian President said that organisation and management of elections had improved.Commenting on regional political and economic integration on the continent, Kikwete said that recently an agreement was reached in the Ugandan capital of Kampala for negotiations to merge the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East Africa Community and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation and form one economic integration block to unite all countries in those blocs.He underscored that these were the first steps of politically and economically creating one united Africa.He further added that in recent decades, Africa has had an annual 5 percent economic growth rate and that if this was maintained, the continent had potential to become an economic powerhouse in the future."The global interest in Africa is an opportunity we cannot afford to lose," Kikwete cautioned the PAP members.He said that the continent is benefiting from the emergence of "a new breed of leaders that have introduced appropriate measures to change Africa for the better."Kikwete pointed out that in the past decades, Africa was known as a continent of doom but that today there has been improvement in changing this image."There is greater awareness on the evils of corruption. Democracy on the continent is becoming institutionalised except for isolated cases," the AU Chairman emphasised.The isolated cases he named include Darfur, Somalia, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Chad, Mauritania and Central African Republic."The AU peace and security force needs to be further empowered in early warning mechanisms and the detection of conflicts," Kikwete underscored.
- The New Times (Kigali)

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