President Joseph Mobutu today (Saturday) formally opened the 41-bungalow village where Africa's Heads of State will stay during their forthcoming Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit.
President Joseph Mobutu today (Saturday) formally opened the 41-bungalow village where Africa's Heads of State will stay during their forthcoming Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit. Started last February, the construction of the village has employed about 1,000 Congolese workers and some 40 European technicians.
The village is decorated with works by students from the Kinshasa and Elizabethville art schools, and speaking at the opening ceremony, President Mobutu said it would for ever serve as a symbol of the Congo's determination to free itself, and Africa, from their shackles and backwardness. President Mobutu was accompanied by Foreign Minister Justin Bomboko.
At the village the flags of the 38 OAU member states were already flying. The summit conference itself is due to open on September 11 but will be preceded by a week-long ministerial meeting starting next Monday (September 4). The foreign ministers of Zambia and Mali, Mr. Simon Kapwepwe and Mr. Ousmane Ba, were among the first to arrive.
Meanwhile, one of the Congo's most popular jazz groups, has prepared 38 songs, one dedicated to each of the OAU member states. The main theme of each song is African unity.
Radio Kinshasa announced today that the Heads of State or Heads of Government of 25 and 38 OAU countries would attend the summit. The radio did not list the 25 countries, but M. Marcel Lengema, the Congo's roving ambassador and President Mobutu's personal representative, told a press conference later that all member countries except Malawi would attend.
M. Lengema stressed that all conditions for the security of delegates were being met.