- The African Union (AU) should act on the crises in São Tomé and Liberia, African trade unions urge. In São Tomé and Príncipe, the legal government must be reinstated, and in Liberia, the AU had to see to a return to peace immediately.
The International Confederation of Free Trade unions African Regional Organisation (ICFTU-AFRO) today demanded action in Liberia and in São Tomé and Príncipe. ICFTU-AFRO in a communiqué said that the trade unionists demand the legal government in São Tomé to be reinstated.
In a letter to the chairman of the African Union Commission Alpha Konaré, General-Secretary Andrew Kailembo described the situation in São Tomé as too delicate and called for constitutional order to be restored immediately.
- We appeal to your Excellency to take all practical measures to ensure that the legal government of São Tomé is restored to power in line with the African Union's declaration," said Mr Kailembo.
The trade union leader added that ICFTU-AFRO was disturbed by the change of government through use of force by soldiers. "This can, as the immediate post-colonial period showed, create yet again a new precedent of changing elected governments by soldiers," he said.
Army rebels overthrew President Fradique de Menezes on 16 July while attending the Sixth Leon Sullivan Summit in Abuja (Nigeria). The rebels took control of government buildings, state TV and radio stations, the Central Bank and the Airport.
They also seized the São Toméan Prime Minister, Maria das Neves, along with Head of the National Assembly Dionisio Dias, Defence Minister Fernando Daqua and Natural Resource Minister. But in a swift reaction, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and the African Union condemned the coup.
Trade unionists also condemn the situation in Liberia. "ICFTU-AFRO wants the African Union to restore peace immediately in Liberia," the communiqué said. Mr Kailembo said urgent steps needed to be taken to ensure peace was restored in the war-torn country.
In his letter to the Mr Konaré, Mr Kailembo said: "It is totally intolerable that African governments should stand by while tens of thousands of defenceless people are killed in any part of the African Continent."
He said ICFTU-AFRO, representing more than 15 million workers in the continent, was concerned with the deterioration of the human condition in Liberia. "The situation has worsened in the last few days, resulting in the wanton killing of ordinary people everywhere in the country," Mr Kailembo said.
The Liberian government estimates that more than 600 civilians have been killed in the capital. Angry Monrovia residents demonstrated outside the US Embassy on Monday, blaming Washington for failing to send soldiers to help end the blood shed.
But US President George Bush has since said that he would only consider sending troops to Liberia if President Charles Taylor leaves the country. West African countries meanwhile consider sending troops if these are properly financed by Western countries.
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