au logo 2011.jpgThe 16th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union begins today in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa with many critical challenges the continent is facing scheduled to be discussed.


Head of State and Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, Cde Robert Mugabe, says the summit comes at a time when there is loss of focus and a clear deviation from the founding principles of the then Organisation of African Unity, as some member states are now pandering to the whims of their erstwhile colonisers for economic gains, while at the same time perpetuating the neo-colonialist and imperialistic agenda.


Among the matters begging for resolutions at the summit is the Cote d’Ivoire crisis where incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Quattara have been locked in a power struggle since the presidential re-run poll on November 28, 2010.


Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who was the AU special envoy to Cote d’Ivoire, failed to deliver and was subsequently fired for breaching of protocol and failing to handle the crisis in the world’s largest cocoa producer.


Also to be discussed at the AU Summit is Kenya’s stand on the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Egypt’s political unrest and the imminent split of Africa’s largest state, Sudan.


Sudan’s issue also comes along with the Darfur crisis which has seen the ICC issuing a warrant of arrest for the country’s President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir who is accused of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in the Western Sudan region, charges he has denied.


Meanwhile, a new chairman of the pan-African organisation will be elected, taking over from Malawian President, Bingu wa Mutharika.


The summit is running under the theme ‘Towards Greater Unity and Regional Integration Through Shared Values.’