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The four-day long 12th Ordinary Session of the AU Heads of State and Government has brought a mix of almost all that is African to Addis Abeba. From the modern brand leaders of more than half of the AU member states, to traditional leaders, smaller in number, to controversial personalities like Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, to the new comer to the scene, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed of Somalia. Here are some of them caught in action.


Charles Rabemananjara (Above Left), prime minister of Madagascar, led his country's delegation to the AU summit in place of Marc Ravalomanana, the president of the country. The President seems to have chosen to stay home so that the situation in the capital, Antananarivo, would not deteriorate.

At least 68 people have so far been killed in clashes between supporters of the President and those of the Mayor of the capital, Andry Rajoelina, in a power struggle that has overshadowed the AU summit.

The Mayor led protests in the capital city last month, during which demonstrators accused the president of running a dictatorship. In January, Rajoelina proclaimed himself head of the Indian Ocean island, laying out plans to call for Ravalomanana's resignation.

But now, the Premier told journalists last Wednesday, February 3, 2009, on behalf of his President, that the situation would be handled lawfully, because whatever the case is, everyone is under the rule of law.



Moderate Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed (right) joined the 12th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit right after being elected as Somalia's new President in Djibouti, where Somali MPs met over the weekend due to instability in their country where Islamist militias are gaining control.

He was sworn in to the post later on Saturday, January 31, 2009, before representing Somalia at the summit in Addis Abeba, from February 1, 2009, to February 4, 2009. Not only did the new leader of Somalia join the meeting but also gave a press conference, on Wednesday, February 3, 2009, in which he gave reassurances that the situation in his country would soon be under control.

With his delegation, including Nur Hassan Hussein (left), prime minister, Sharif told journalists that he sure can make a change and that he is willing to work with all who will stand by his side to support him to bring peace and stability to the state that has been functioning without a central government since 1991.

As a result, the northern regions of Somaliland and Puntland have broken away to administer themselves.



The new elect to both the African Union Chairmanship and the King of Africa's traditional kings, sheiks and princes, the 67-year old Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi (right) was still around Addis a few days after the AU summit ended.

While he was visiting the AU head office on Roosevelt Street, late in the morning on February 6, 2009, Gaddafi  again addressed journalists.  He discussed the security threats causing humanitarian problems in the continent, while at the same time responding to questions of his leadership model, which some say is autocratic.

As just elected Chairperson of the AU for the next one year, Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi has been an issue of discussion in various corners. Alleging that the process of his coming to power as well as his ruling system is not of a democratic type, most wonder how he would handle continental issues, which include issues of some states whose leaders come to power through coups d'état. 



Around 20 in number, representing the group of traditional Kings, Sheiks   and Princes from different parts of Africa, were in Addis Abeba last week to   make sure that their voices were heard at the AU summit where the Heads of States mainly discussed security, establishment of the Union government of Africa and the impact of the global financial crisis on the continent.

Crowned as the 'King of traditional Kings of Africa', Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi, leader of the Great Libyan Socialist Arab Jamahiriya, granted them the opportunity to have seats in the Summit. 

Without having said much in the Summit, the traditional leaders through their secretary general, Tuffiziz Jean Gervais (right) expressed their delight to journalists on Wednesday, February 3, 2009. The traditional leaders said they have great respect for their newly elected King, who has considered the important roles they can play to reach the wider public.

The leaders, who sought the attention of the summit, have had chances to sit and listen and take part in discussions held during the four-day meeting, with one more day added due to the elongated talks on the financial crisis and union government formation.



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