By Anne Mugisa,
and Milton Olupot
THE 15th African Union summit ended in Kampala yesterday with the chairman, President Bingu Wa Mutharika, saying it was a resounding success.
The 15th ordinary session, which brought together over 35 heads of state and government discussed and made resolutions on several issues over and above its theme, maternal, infant and child health and development in Africa.
President Museveni, the AU summit host, did not make any remarks during the closing ceremony. But Museveni, who was with his wife Janet, appeared jovial all through.
Besides, he also held bilateral meetings with other leaders including Libyaâ€™s Col. Muammar Gadaffi.
In his closing remarks, Mutharika said the meeting was characterised by heated moments and disagreements in which they had to make difficult decisions.
He said the decisions made have far reaching implications, and urged the leaders to ensure that they are implemented.
â€œWe have made decisions before but implementation has been a problem. It is time for our people to see the results. We have the means and political will, let us do it. I believe the future of the world depends on us,â€ he said.
â€œWe should create a new Africa where Africans do not die of hunger, terrorism, diseases, wars and African children do not die before the age of five. We should have Africa where mothers donâ€™t die while trying to bring life to this earth,â€ he said.
Mutharika expressed confidence that peace and security would soon be restored in the continent.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan called on development partners to finance the health projects.
He thanked other leaders for fighting poverty and diseases on the continent and pledged to work closely with them in making a difference in Africa.
Gadaffi said: â€œWe need to stick to our ambition of integration. I am confident that we will have the United States of Africa.â€
Bashir and the International Criminal Court
Mutharika said the AU asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to suspend its indictments against Sudanese president Omar El-Bashir for one year as the union investigated the allegations against him.
The ICC issued two arrest warrants against Bashir, accusing him of crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. The latest warrant was issued last month.
Mutharika asked if the court had a right to try Bashir, when Sudan is not a member of the ICC.
AMISOMâ€™s mandate in Somalia unchanged
Mutharika said the UPDF together with the Burundi forces making up the AMISOM made strident gains against the Al-Shabaab terrorists. He appealed for co-operation from international bodies like the UN, saying the problem was no longer for Africa alone.
He added that the recent terrorist bombings in Kampala were meant to discourage them from attending the summit, but their attendance had shown that terrorism has no place in todayâ€™s world.
Asked whether the summit had changed the mandate of AMISOM from mere peacekeeping to combat, he said they had not debated it but it would be decided by the Peace and Security Council.
Ping added that changing the mandate would call for new equipment like helicopters, which are not available. Guinea and Djibouti willing to contribute troops, he added.
Maternal, infant and child health
Ping said the members agreed to form a group to monitor and report on the progress of maternal, infant and child health.
Mutharika said the summit had agreed to place the welfare of women and safe motherhood at the forefront of their development agendas this year.
â€œIf we improve the welfare of women, access to food and health care, maternal mortality will significantly reduce,â€ he said.
The summit, he added, also launched a programme for infrastructural development in Africa and adopted the African charter on maritime transport. It also elected human rights commissioners, a committee on child health, and a judge to the African court of justice.
A report on conflict resolution in Somalia, Darfur, Madagascar and other crisis states was presented to the heads of state. A report on the fight against corruption and others on drugs, and on coup de tats on the continent were also presented.
Mutharika said he believed in the next five years Africa will grow enough food to feed itself and supply to the rest of the world.
â€œPresently, Africa uses 10% of arable land whereas in Europe it is 100%. We have rivers, lakes which only need harnessing for irrigation. We have taken a decision that five years from now no child should die of hunger and malnutrition, or go to bed hungry,â€ he said.
On climate change, Mutharika observed that although Africa does not contribute to greenhouse emissions, it is the most affected and called for re-afforestation along river banks.