By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Zambia has assumed the chairmanship of the African Union Peace and Security Council for the month of August.
This is the second time that Zambia will be chairing the Peace and Security Council, organ of the African Union in charge of peace and security since becoming a member of the council three years ago.
Following consultations and green light from Government, the Zambia Mission in July presented Agenda items that have since been approved for discussion in the month of August by the Peace and Security Council.
Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Susan Sikaneta who is chairing the meetings on behalf of Zambia said some of the agenda items to be discussed include the preparation for the Amnesty Month in relation to silencing the guns on the continent by 2020.
The issue of embracing the values of governance and democracy through review of the AU Charter on Democracy, elections and Human Rights, the question of ending child marriages and examining the Peace and Security gaps that may affect the implementation of the AU Flagship programmes under Agenda 2063, among others.
On the preparation for the Amnesty Month, Ms Sikaneta said this was an important programme because there were many illegal weapons and arms that were in circulation on the continent of Africa.
She also noted that Zambia had taken the surrender of weapons seriously owing to the fact that the AU Roadmap on Silencing the Guns was crafted in Zambia in 2016, guided by President Edgar Lungu.
Ms Sikaneta who is also Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the AU said the Peace and Security Council would also consider suggestions for the standardization of legislation for owning weapons on the continent.
She said there was need to ensure that countries that were not allowing girls to go back to school after falling pregnant are peer reviewed because such a move was inhibiting girls from having a future after pregnancy.
She said Zambia was doing well in eliminating child marriages under President Edgar Lungu who was AU Champion on ending child marriages in Africa.
Ms Sikaneta said the root causes of conflict must be eliminated if the flagship programmes are to succeed.
She said there was need for the PSC to examine the AU Charter in its entirety and strengthen its provisions for peace and stability on the continent.
And the Ambassador said Zambia is one of the countries that had a good record of peace and democracy on the continent.
She said this should continue to be enhanced so that Zambia continues to be a model of peace, democracy and good governance that the country is admired for.
The Ambassador commended President Lungu for allowing Peace to thrive in Zambia.
Ms Sikaneta has since chaired the first PSC session that sat to prepare for the Africa Amnesty Month within the context of the African Union Master roadmap of practical steps to silence the Guns in Africa.
During the session Ms Sikaneta said it was time Africa planned and came up with practical ways of observing the Amnesty month.
This is according to media statement by First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambia Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Inutu Mupango Mwanza.