By Okey NDIRIBE,Â Addis- Ababa
Nigeria has joined otherÂ countries backing the candidacy of Malawian PresidentMr Bingu WaÂ Mutharika to headÂ the African Union atÂ the summit of the Heads of State of the continent body beginning tomorrow in Addis-Ababa.
Also, President of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Museveni, has pledged to raise his countryâ€™s troops contribution for the AUâ€™s peace keeping mission in Somalia to 8,000. The Ugandan leader made the pledge during a meeting he held in Tripoli with Libyan leader andÂ President of AU Col. Mouammar Kadhafi. Both leaders also held discussions and reviewed ways of implementingÂ resolutions regarding the transformation of AU Commission into an authority of the African Union.
Both leaders also held discussions on theÂ on-going summit of the African Union.
Sources close to the Nigerian delegation to the summit told Saturday Vanguard that Nigeria had decided to throw its weight behind the Malawian leader who has already been endorsed by member states of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Earlier in the week,Â leaders of SADCÂ met at Maputo, the capital of Mozambique penultimate week during the investiture ceremony of President Armando Guebuza where they discussed the political and security situation prevailing in the continent. The meeting, presided over by President Joseph Kabila of DRC,Â expressed deep concern over the political stalemate prevailing in the Republic of Madagascar.
The Southern African leaders commended the efforts of the SADC facilitator for his support to ZimbabweÂ towardsÂ Â the full implementation of that countryâ€™s internal political agreement and also condoled the Governments and peoples of Malawi, DR Congo and Haiti for the loss of human lives and destruction of goods as a result of natural disasters in these three countries.
The SADC leaders asked that humanitarian assistance should be extended to these countries.
The SADC summit also commended Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia for the credible elections they held. TheyÂ also hailed Angola and South Africa for the international football championships they are hosting this year.