Wednesday, 9 July 2003

Maputo (Fides Service) – “I think that the AU meeting in Maputo which starts on July 10 will begin to map out a way of bringing about greater unity and solidarity between the 53 member countries from the continent of Africa” said Father Richard Menatsi, Secretary General of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference SACBC with regard to the meeting of African Union heads of state taking place in Maputo, Mozambique 10-12 July. Father Menatsi, in charge of social and political issues for the SACBC expects a positive outcome from the meeting: “It will also perhaps look at the establishment of a Pan-Africa Parliament PAP. One of the functions of the PAP would be to oversee the AU particular its crucial peer review mechanisms. It is also expected that the parliament would give its MPs leverage when seeking action to resolve conflicts on the continent”.
The meeting will discuss the election of a new UA Commission President, to succeed outgoing Amara Essy from Ivory Coast. “The hope is that African leaders will begin to determine their own destiny by taking responsibility for their continent and together work towards unity and peace and solving the problems afflicting the continent: war, and the biggest threat to Africa poverty, weak infrastructures and HIV-AIDS. I hope that some constructive plan will emerge as how to remedy these immense problems” Father Menatsi says.
The meeting will also discuss NEPAD the new development plan for Africa which the industrialised G8 countries have promised to finance. Father Menatsi says: “To date the G8’s commitment to contribute to the development of the African continent has been questioned, however with their renewed pledge of commitment owe can only wit and see whether the promises will be kept” .
Thousands of demonstrators have taken to Maputo’s streets taking advantage of the media coverage. “They are repatriated workers from the former East Germany demanding back-payment of wages” a local observer tells Fides Service. “Germany has paid the sum to Mozambique but the so far the workers have seen nothing. Every Friday they stage peaceful protests carrying flags of the USA, former East Germany and the United Nations. However this time there were incidents of violence and the police had to use tear-gas and real bullets to dispel the mob. At least one protester was slightly injured. LM (Fides Service 9/7/2003 EM lines 35 Words: 407)

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