Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s former president has been named winner of the Daily Trust African of the Year 2012 award.
The announcement was made by Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, chairman of the award Advisory Board at a press conference during the plenary session of the African Media Leaders Forum in Dakar, Senegal Thursday night.
The selection committee normally looks for an ordinary African who has done extra-ordinary positive things for the continent; the decision this year was excellent.
Dr. Salim, who was Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union), said Thabo Mbeki was chosen because of his outstanding leadership of the AU Panel on Sudan and the success of the panel in bringing Sudan and South Sudan back from the brink of war.
Mbeki who chairs the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) will receive $50 000 in prize money.
Sudan and newly created South Sudan came to the brink of war in April this year over oil revenue disputes and it was Mbeki and his panel that rushed to save the situation by engaging the two parties in rounds of discussions resulting in the signing of nine agreements in September.
Although the relationship between the two nations is still tense, Mbeki’s mediation played a key role in diffusing the conflict.
Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008, the late Pan-Africanist Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem of Nigeria in 2009, Mr. Danny Jordaan of South Africa in 2010 and former Niger Chief Justice Fatima Salifou Bazeye are previous winners of the award