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Term limits top agenda on US-Africa Summit

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By FREDERIC MUSISI

Posted  Sunday, August 3   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Agenda. Officials say several matters like respect for constitutions and term limits for leaders will be discussed.

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A senior official in the US Department of State has said presidential term limits will be high on agenda during the US-Africa Summit which opens in Washington tomorrow.

Fifty African heads of state have confirmed their attendance. The summit ends on Wednesday.

The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told select African journalists during a telephonic conference from Washington, that they invited leaders regardless of their political differences in order to pave way meaningful conversations on several matters like respect for constitutions and term limits for leaders.

However, the leaders of Eritrea, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Central Africa Republic, according to the State Department, were not invited.
“We shall use the summit to have conversation about long-standing problems on the continent,” Ms Greenfield noted, “We have made it clear before that as the United States, we believe in strong institutions and constitutions, that should be respected and not changed to fit personal interests.”

Uganda changed its Constitution in 2005 to lift the two five-year presidential term limits when President Museveni was serving his second and last term under the 1995 Constitution.
Ms Greenfield said no leader will hold bilateral talks with the US President Barack Obama.

The US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, and other members of the US Congress and Business leaders, will hold bilateral talks with the visiting African leaders.

On Thursday, the Senior Director for African Affairs, Mr Grant Harris, said they understand a dozen elections are coming up in African countries between next year and 2016, so the summit provides a good “opportunity for dialogue”.

The US Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first US-Africa Business Forum to focus on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa.

An online Change.org petition to President Obama has been launched and has so far gathered 750 signatures, and its US-based Ugandan initiator wants the White House to cancel President Museveni’s invitation to the summit, citing his human rights record at home and support for insurgencies in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also on the agenda
With the theme “Investing in the Next Generation,” the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the summit will focus on deepening the partnership between the US and African countries which is “rooted in history”.

The other agendas of the summit will be to expand cooperation on peace and regional security, promote inclusive and sustainable development, bolstering trade and investments, and creation of an enabling environment for the next generation of Africans.

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