Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa left the country yesterday for Mauritania, where he is set to join other African Heads of State and Government for the 31st ordinary session of the African Union Summit.
The summit kicked off yesterday with a high-level meeting of the executive council at the Conference Centre Nouakchott.
It is the first time that the Islamic State of Mauritania, which is located in the Maghreb region, is hosting the continental assembly.
President Mnangagwa, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is accompanied by senior Government officials. Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is the Acting President.
Themed “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation,” the summit dovetailed with the thrust of President Mnangagwa’s new dispensation that declared zero tolerance on corruption.
Apart from discussing ways to fight corruption, the Mauritanian convocation will focus on peace, security, humanitarian situation on the continent, the Continental Free Trade Area and the African Common Position on the future of African Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the European Union.
In an interview yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha described the summit as a high-level meeting that spoke to the new dispensation’s objective of eradicating corruption as Government sets focus on transforming the country into a middle income economy by 2030.
“We regard this summit as an important meeting because it goes along with the thrust of the new dispensation,” said Ambassador Bimha.
“The summit will give His Excellency the President an opportunity to interact with his counterparts across the continent and share experiences how they have tackled the vice in their respective countries, especially those that have managed to do better in this regard.”
At the summit, AU chair and Rwandan President Paul Kagame is expected to present a report on AU institutional reforms, while the continental body’s commission chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will deliver a paper on the Western Sahara question and Africa’s position on Caribbean and Pacific-European Union relations after 2020.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will present on the summit theme.
The summit will also oversee the appointment of four judges of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, five members of AU Commission on International Law four members of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and appointment of the Vice President of the Pan-African University Council.
President Mnangagwa recently set a Special Prosecuting Unit in his Office to expedite prosecution of graft cases.
The unit’s terms of reference include collaborating with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other such institutions in the fight against corruption, assist ZACC and other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and consideration of corruption dockets, subject to the issuance of authority to prosecute by the Prosecutor General, to prosecute corruption cases referred to the National Prosecuting Authority by investigative agencies.
Members of the unit are bound by the Official Secrets Act (Chapter 11:10).