|Volume 3, No. 26 4—10 July 2003|
The Second Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union will take place in Maputo, Mozambique next week. Durban and our country were honoured last year to host the Inaugural Assembly of the Union. The public rally at Durban's King's Park Stadium helped to introduce the new Union to our country, Africa and the world in a fitting and moving manner.
We had the privilege to occupy the position of Chairperson of the Union during its first year of existence. We will hand over this responsibility to the President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, at the beginning of the Second Ordinary Assembly, having presented a report about the work of the Union during the first year of its existence.
We agreed as African countries to replace the OAU with the African Union. Central to this decision, was our common resolve to speed up the process of the political, economic and social integration of our continent, consistent with the shared goal of African unity.
Necessarily, therefore, the African Union must have the policies and instruments by which to expedite this integration. The Union has therefore spent some of the time during its first year addressing these matters. In other words, it has been carrying out the necessary work to make itself fully operational. The Maputo Assembly should take this work further forward, which should result in the further empowerment of the Union to do its work.
The fulltime executive organ of the Union is its Commission. During its first year, the Union continue to function with the Secretariat of the OAU acting as the Interim Commission of the Union. Work has now been completed concerning various matters pertaining to the functioning of the Commission.
The Maputo Assembly will therefore elect the Commission of the Union, the body that will be charged with the daily responsibility to take the integration agenda of the Union forward. We sincerely hope that the Assembly will elect African men and women of high calibre, capable of providing effective leadership to the institutions of the Union as they work to discharge their responsibilities.
This requires people with the necessary professional skills, a deep and genuine commitment to the realisation of the goals of the Union, as spelt out in the Constitutive Act, and love for our continent and its peoples. None of us should therefore seek to dump on the Commission people who have become redundant in our countries. Rather, the candidates we offer should be precisely the very same people we need for our own national development, and not "rejects".
It is clear that if the Commission does not function effectively, the Union as a whole will not be able to achieve the goals it has set itself. It is for this reason that the Assembly will have to make certain that it chooses the right people to constitute the Commission, who will thus join the ranks of the continental leadership charged with the task to lead our continent towards its renewal.
The African Union has recognised the fact that one of its principal and urgent responsibilities is to ensure that the entirety of our continent enjoys peace, stability and democracy. This is important both to save the lives of our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and to create the conditions for the development we need to end African poverty and underdevelopment.
The principal instrument in the hands of the Union to address the matters of peace, stability and conflict resolution, is its Peace and Security Council. Our various parliaments and governments were required to ratify the Protocol to establish this Council, during the course of the first year of the Union.
Given ratification of the Protocol by the required 27 countries, the Maputo Assembly should then take the necessary steps to constitute the Peace and Security Council. It is very good that our own parliament has ratified this important Protocol. As a country, we are therefore ready for the immediate formation and activation of the Peace and Security Council.
The Maputo Assembly should also reflect upon and decide on a common African security policy, to ensure the continent's integration with regard to this important area of human existence.
During the first year of the African Union, both as a country and as Chair of the Union, we have paid particular attention to issues of peace and stability on our continent. In this regard, we must thank the men and women of our National Defence Force who have served and are serving with distinction in the DRC, Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Comoros.
As a result of the efforts of the Union, working together with the respective peoples, the delegations of the DRC and Burundi at the Maputo Assembly will be constituted somewhat differently than those that attended the Inaugural Assembly in Durban. The DRC will be represented by the new transitional government of national unity, while the Burundi delegation will be led by the Hutu President under whose leadership Burundi will make its transition to democratic rule.
These welcome developments demonstrate that it is indeed possible for us as Africans to end wars on our continent and to take to the road of democracy. Correctly and in keeping with decisions taken by the OAU and confirmed by the African Union, the Central African Republic will not be represented at the Maputo Assembly, given that the present government came about as a result of the military overthrow of the democratically elected government led by President Ange-Felix Patasse.
To ensure Africa's political integration as a democratic continent, the Union adopted the Constitutive Act of the African Union. This added to the legal instruments that should govern the further evolution of our continent. Another one of these is the African Convention on Human and People's Rights. To give force to these and other instruments, the Constitutive Act provides for the establishment of an African Court of Justice.
Hopefully, the Maputo Assembly will approve the Protocol that will enable the establishment of this Court, which should come into being during the second year of the Union. We also expect that during this year, the Pan-African Parliament will also be constituted, the necessary number of ratifications having been secured.
This Parliament will bring together the elected representatives of the peoples of our continent to deliberate on all matters of common concern to our continent, and advise the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on actions it should take to advance the common agenda for the reconstruction and development of Africa.
During its second year, the Union should also see the establishment of its Economic, Social and Cultural Council, which will enable African civil society to play its proper role in the affairs of the Union and the process of the renewal of our continent. This is a critically important matter because the central issue of the renaissance of Africa is not only a matter of concern to governments. It requires the involvement of the masses of the African people, who constitute the decisive driver and agent of the transformation that our continent needs - hence the importance of ECOSOCC.
In addition to these institutions, we also have the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, and the African Peer Review Mechanism. These bodies will make a vital contribution in terms of assisting our countries to live up to the commonly agreed standards of good political and economic governance. In particular, they will enable the Union to identify any weaknesses in our countries, to enable them to extend such assistance as any of our countries might need to improve its performance.
With regard to the issue of economic integration, NEPAD is proceeding apace towards the implementation of a practical programme focused on economic and social development. This includes agriculture and rural development, social and economic infrastructure, information and communication technology, and so on.
In this regard, the Union depends on the Regional Economic Communities (REC' s), such as SADC and ECOWAS, these being the bodies that help both to identify the required regional initiatives and to implement the regional programmes, once they have been agreed. Accordingly, these REC's are themselves hard at work to ensure that the priority programmes of NEPAD are implemented.
The NEPAD Steering Committee will also continue its interaction with the G8 Personal Representatives on Africa, the Representative of the UN Secretary General on Africa, and other multilateral institutions, to pursue the various matters that bear on Africa's development. In this regard, it will continue to rely on the decisions of the various African Ministerial meetings that deal with such matters as finance and trade. Thus the Union should see further advances on these and other matters, during the second year of its existence.
The overwhelming majority of the people of Africa are poor. Indeed, the scramble for limited resources lies at the base of many of the conflicts that take place in our countries. Similarly, other social ills, such as debility and death from curable and preventable diseases, malnutrition, illiteracy, and so on, are a direct result and manifestation of poverty.
It is therefore inevitable that the African Union should pay particular attention to the matter of the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment. To ensure that this work proceeds with the necessary speed, the NEPAD institutions set up by the Union will continue to function as they have done during the first year of the Union.
These are the Implementation Committee of Heads of State and Government, the Steering Committee and the Secretariat of NEPAD. The Union is keen that it should ensure that its headquarters is staffed and functions properly before it changes this arrangement, fully to integrate the work of NEPAD within its headquarters.
As the Union implements its programmes to achieve further integration in all areas of human activity, and thus advance towards its unity, it is also interested in deepening its relations with the African Diaspora. This matter will therefore serve on the agenda of the Maputo Assembly.
On January 1, 2004, the people of Haiti will celebrate the Bicentenary of the birth of the world's first Black Republic, which came about as a result of the victorious struggles of the African slaves of Haiti. The Government of Haiti is interested that the peoples of Africa should be represented at these celebrations, both to pay tribute to an historic African victory against slavery and colonialism, and to strengthen the ties between Africa and the Caribbean.
On the 2nd of July, we joined the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this institution. During our discussions with these leaders, the point was made very firmly, that we should strengthen the ties of mutually beneficial cooperation and solidarity between the Caribbean and Africa.
The Caribbean Community looks forward to the elaboration of a practical programme of action to bring about this result. Accordingly, the Maputo Assembly will take the necessary decisions to take this matter forward, relating to the entirety of the African Diaspora.
The Maputo Assembly should stand out as the occasion when our continent took new and decisive steps to make the African Union operational, ending the period of transition from the OAU to the AU. As it moves forward firmly, to establish the institutions it needs, the African Union will also have to act on all matters relating to the reconstruction and development of our continent in a manner that unequivocally demonstrates its commitment to bring about Africa's renaissance.
All our people wish the Maputo Assembly success and extend their best wishes to the new Chairperson of the AU who will be elected in Maputo, President Joaquim Alberto Chissano.
Choosing the best cadres to represent the people
Starting in a week's time, from 11 July, ANC branches will begin the process of choosing ANC candidates for the 2004 national and provincial elections.
Since the 1994 elections, the process by which the ANC selects its candidates has been without parallel. No other party has been able to match the level of popular involvement, transparency, thoroughness and consultation that has characterised the ANC's list process.
The result of this approach is that the list of ANC candidates is unmatched in terms of its collected experience, popularity, representivity and proven commitment to transformation. The ANC electoral lists have been noted for reflecting the diversity of South African society, and for consciously seeking to redress the under-representation of women in political life.
Determined to select a cadre of candidates for parliament and the provincial legislatures that is competent, capable, popular, representative and beyond reproach, the ANC has adopted an approach to candidate selection which builds on the achievements and draws on the lessons of previous years.
This approach is described in the 'List Process Guidelines', which were adopted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) on 22-24 May 2003.
This process will result in the selection of ANC candidates for the following lists:
Review of public representatives
The ANC conducted a review of all its councillors before the 2000 local elections. Learning from this experience, the ANC has begun work to conduct a review of all its current MPs and MPLs. This review will inform the nominations and selection process for 2004; provide lessons on our experience in parliament and the legislatures during the first decade of freedom; and assist us to put in place support and monitoring mechanisms to enable future ANC public representatives to more effectively play their role.
The review will consist of self-assessment by individual MPs and MPLs, as well as assessments by the relevant Chief Whip and whippery, study group chairs, and provincial or regional secretaries.
The review reports will be consolidated into a national database, and a report presented to the Officials and National List Committee. A summary of the main issues arising will be distributed to structures and released for public information.
The ANC Constitution, adopted in December 2002, makes provision for the appointment of National and Provincial List Committees. The List Committees are appointed by the NEC and PEC at different levels and are tasked with the administration and implementation of the list guidelines.
Final decision-making powers about lists and ordering lie with the NEC. Each PEC will make decisions about provincial lists subject to ratification by the NEC.
The National List Committee has been appointed by the NEC. Its members are the Secretary General, Amos Masondo, Bertha Gxowa, Brian Bunting, Charles Nqakula, Lindiwe Sisulu, Fikile Mbalula and Ruth Mompati.
Provision is made for the effective participation of the Alliance in the process. All nominations are generated from ANC branch general meetings. Members of alliance partners participate as ANC members in their respective branches. The Alliance partners will, however, be allocated voting representation at the Provincial and National List Conferences.
As in the previous election, there will be no 'reserved' seats on the lists for any organisation within or outside the alliance because MPs are ultimately accountable to the ANC.
Among other things, candidates must:
The overall lists should:
From 11 July to 8 September, nominations for all the lists will be made in properly constituted ANC Branch General Meetings. A candidate must be nominated by at least five ANC branches to be considered for the ballot.
All nominees must provide a brief CV and sign an undertaking to abide by the ANC code of conduct, the codes of ethics of parliament and the legislatures, to accept the final lists as ratified by the NEC, and the procedures for recall of MPs and MPLs after elections.
The provincial list committees will conduct an initial screening of the nominees to ensure they all meet the criteria. The committees will call for objections and review any objections to any of the names.
Provincial List Conferences will be convened to select candidates. Of the delegates to this conference, 80 percent will be branch delegates, with the remaining 20 percent divided among PECs, RECs, Alliance office bearers and League PECs.
An independent agency will be contracted to run the voting and counting part of the list process. All provincial list conferences will be observed by the National List Committee.
The Provincial List Committees will submit the three lists from their province, with CV forms completed by all candidates, to the National List Committee (NLC).
The NLC will compile a draft ordered list for the national-to-national list, based on provincial nominations and the criteria in this document.
The National List Conference, scheduled for 1-2 November, will take the form of an extended meeting of the NEC, to which provinces, the leagues and Alliance partners will send delegates. The conference will draft and approve all the lists.
The National List Committee will allow for a process of appeals or objections by ANC structures. It will also determine grounds for appeal.
The ANC candidate for premier of each province will be put as number one on the provincial legislature lists once the deployment has been finalised.
This process is intended to achieve the appropriate balance between democratic participation and political intervention to produce a list which reflects the wishes of the membership of the ANC while ensuring adequate balance and representivity.
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