Uhuru-Spirit News


January 30, 2014 | UhuruSpirit

Nelson Mandela

The African Union (AU) on Thursday named the main assembly hall of its headquarters in Addis Ababa after former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Mandela died in Johannesburg on Dec. 5 and was buried in Qunu, the Eastern Cape, on Dec. 15.

The motion to rename the assembly hall, which hosts the meeting of AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, after Mandela was moved by Algeria’s Ambassador to AU, Rachid Benlounes.

The Assembly observed one minute silence in honour of Mandela and the Algerian envoy paid homage to Mandela, describing him as an “iconic figure and freedom fighter.

“It is really important that the name of Mandela be present in our memories.

“We must have in our memories all that Madiba did for Africa and we must honour his memory,’’ Benlounes said in his motion.

In his speech at the summit, the South African President Jacob Zuma thanked the AU for the gesture, with his seven-minute speech at the assembly centering on Mandela’s legacies.

He said “Mandela was a global icon; Madiba was a product of the struggle for decolonisation, which was one of the objectives of establishing the Organisation of African Unity."

“Through this, you have made Madiba’s name to be placed among the greatest in the continent,” he told the heads of state assembled today.

He thanked African countries for standing by South Africa during the struggle, when many ANC leaders were exiled.

Earlier, the AU welcomed Madagascar and Mali back into the continental body.

The AU had imposed sanctions against members of the Madagascar government in the wake of the 2009 coup, while Mali was suspended because of a coup in 2012.

In his speech, the newly elected President Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar, promised to rebuild trust in the state and encourage reconciliation.

He said the vanilla-producing island had enough resources and real assets that would emerge with good governance.

He called for an international donor conference in the next three months to help the country to recover from political and economic crisis triggered by the coup. (NAN)

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