“The African Union is not just for the Heads of State and Government – it is your Union”, said H.E Tumusiime Rhoda-Peace, Commissioner for Rural Agriculture and Agriculture at the African Union, addressing Big Brother Housemate, Melvin Oduah, as well as other housemates and viewers of the hit TV show in Johannesburg last Thursday 17 October.
“We will definitely increase our efforts and steps to eradicate energy poverty, end hunger, fight HIV/AIDS and many more pertinent issues.” This promise is at the core of a video message just released by H.E Tumusiime Rhoda-Peace, Commissioner for Rural Agriculture and Agriculture at the African Union, addressing Big Brother Housemate, Melvin Oduah, as well as other housemates and viewers of the hit TV show. The video message is a response to another video message by Oduah to the African Union, calling on the body to step up its efforts to fight energy poverty, which is a serious impediment to development in Africa.
Oduah’s message was recorded as part of a video competition organised by the ONE Campaign in collaboration with MNET Africa to mark the AU’s 50th anniversary during the charity week (5th – 9th of August). BBA housemates taped short video messages calling on the AU to do more to address problems facing Africa. Viewers of the show then voted on the best video using Big Brother Africa’s online platform.
Melvin presented his winning video to a representative of AU/NEPAD at a press function held in Johannesburg last Thursday 17 October, on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Reacting to the AU’s video message, Dr. Sipho Moyo, Africa Director at ONE underscored the importance of combatting energy poverty, which affects 70% of the 589 million citizens in sub-Saharan Africa. This severely hampers life-saving hospital services, job and educational opportunities, agricultural production as well the safety and security of women and girls.
“42, 170 viewers, representing 51% of the 82, 474 voters, gave their nod to Melvin Oduah’s message. This signifies the importance that Africans attach to energy poverty. As ONE, we are therefore, elated by the AU’s rapid response to this call by African youth, and re-echo Her Excellency Rhoda-Peace’s words, that it is the responsibility of all Africans to join the fight against poverty,” said Dr. Moyo.
In her message, Her Excellence Tumusiime Rhoda-Peace notes that “the African Union is not just for the Heads of State and Government – it is your Union”. “The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, whom I am here representing, echoes the words of young people who like to say: it is not cool to be poor,” she adds.
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