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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Gaddafi eludes Lusaka's press
Moi, Mandela, Gaddafi, Museveni (l-r)
The big guns are in Lusaka
By Peter Biles in Lusaka

Lusaka is a city that has become a hive of activity as the heads of state of Africa assemble for their annual summit.

The Times of Zambia has a front-page photograph of Libyan security officers running alongside the limousine carrying Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

But few people it seems have managed to catch a glimpse of the Libyan leader.

The Zambia Daily Mail reports that scores of people gathered at a mosque in Lusaka on Sunday in the hope of seeing him.

They were then told that the mosque wasn't a suitable venue for Colonel Gaddafi to come and pray with local Muslims, because of security concerns.

To the annoyance of local residents, says the paper, Colonel Gaddafi's meeting subsequently took place at the residence of the Libyan ambassador.

Sleepy

Lusaka - the normally sleepy capital of Zambia - is not used to so much international attention.

Lusaka street
Lusaka is a sleepy place unused to international attention
The Daily Mail sums up the novelty of Zambia hosting a major conference with the headline: "More Presidents Jet In".

The lead story below is simply a catalogue of which African heads of state have arrived in Lusaka, and who is in their delegations.

Unless your interest is : Who's Who in Africa, it is not an article that's going to boost the paper's circulation.

Both the main papers contain supplements on this African leaders' summit.

New beginning

This is the moment when the Organisation of African Unity - formed in 1963 - is being transformed into a new African Union.

In an editorial, the Times says the AU, whatever form it takes, promises a new beginning for Africa which for centuries has borne the tag of the Dark Continent.

The paper says that should the leaders gathered here this week, fail to tackle the problem of refugees, then measures must be put in place to help countries bearing the burden of large refugee populations.

It warns that the new African Union must start on a clean slate.

The Daily Mail comments that Africa now has to look inwards for solutions to its economic problems.

It points out that only three of the 53 members of the OAU are considerably wealthy, but the paper is nevertheless optimistic that the African Union will provide a base for a united and focused assault on poverty, hunger and disease.

Away from the summit, the main interest in Zambia is in the apparent assassination of a leading opposition figure, Paul Tembo, at his home last Friday.

The Daily Mail says Zambian investigators are getting ready to work with Scotland Yard detectives who've been asked to help the local police with the inquiry.

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See also:

25 May 01 | Africa
OAU gives way to African Union
25 May 01 | Africa
The future of African unity
02 Mar 01 | Africa
Leaders agree on African union
11 Jul 00 | Africa
United States of Africa?
31 Oct 00 | Africa
United States of Southern Africa?
10 Jul 00 | Middle East
Gaddafi steals Lome limelight
12 Jul 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
On the trail of Colonel Gaddafi
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