Alternative AU Presidents Debate Calls on Leaders to Invest in Saving Lives
On July 23rd, an “Alternative Presidents Debate” held place in respond to the African Union Summit in Kampala. In the Summit’s first ever stunt of its kind, activists wore masks to play the roles of some of Africa’s foremost leaders and then debated how to solve the continent’s health crises. With the real leaders debating behind closed doors at the Summit, this was the only forum where ‘Heads of State’ reported back directly to their citizens.
They protest the failed promises of their leaders, which in many of these countries means thousands of deaths. On piece of data says it all: “During the three days of the official Heads of State summit, up to 40,000 African women and children will die needless and preventable deaths”, reports the original article.
In 2001 AU member states pledged to invest at least 15% of national budgets to improve healthcare for citizens. Yet last year only six of 53 countries have kept this promise.
Some “Presidents” featured in the debate included Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Ian Khama of Bostwana, and Bingu Wa Mutharika, the President of Malawi and current Chair of the AU.
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