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What Could Happen With Mugabe Leading The African Union?

What Could Happen With Mugabe Leading The African Union?

Zimbabwe’s long-serving President Robert Mugabe was elected chairman of African Union Jan. 30, despite protests against his poor poor human rights record and lack of democratic leadership.

Supporters said the chairmanship was rotational and that it was Zimbabwe’s turn.

Asked what message his election would send to the West, Mugabe responded:
“What the West will say or do is not my business. My business is to ensure that the decisions that we have arrived (at) here are implemented and (they) are all decisions which have to do with the development of Africa.”

In his acceptance speech, Mugabe promised African Union members he would “deliberately provoke your thoughts to pay special attention to issues of infrastructure, value addition, agriculture and climate change.”

Mugabe took over from Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Based in Abuja, Niger, journalist and activist Edwin Uhara questions what Mugabe’s A.U. election could mean in an analysis from the Lagos Daily Independent, reprinted in AllAfrica.

From AllAfrica. Analysis by Edwin Uhara.

What moral authority will the African Union have under Mugabe to condemn human rights violation and abuse of democratic process anywhere in the continent?

What will be the fate of young African democrats who for far too long have been yearning for strong democratic institutions across the continent?

Is it time to review the rules and procedures leading to the election of African Union chairman?

Since Mugabe is currently under sanction imposed by the West, would his election amount to African Union lacking representation in any international event in Washington or Brussels?


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Would U.S. or the European Union be persuaded to lift their sanctions on Mugabe because he is now African Union chairman? If that is done, what message will it send to despotic leaders in the continent, and how will it forestall tendencies that might result in despotism in Africa or anywhere else in the future?

How will A.U. under Mugabe respond to the impending political crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of President Joseph Kabila’s unhidden desire to amend the country’s constitution to extend his continued stay leaders with insatiable quest for power?

Similarly, how will A.U. under Mugabe champion the cause of the internally displaced persons in Africa which the brutality and the draconian attributes of his government in Harare share blame with other factors that contributed to (their) sorrowful state?

How will A.U. under Mugabe strive to reposition Africa’s economy and attract foreign direct investments into the
continent when his undemocratic land reform in Zimbabwe has chased away foreign investors from his country and subsequently denied its citizens the job such endeavor would have created for them?

How long will African leaders continue to hide under the cloak of rotational chairmanship rule of A.U. to elect people like Mugabe when they denied Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir its chairmanship position in 2005 on grounds of the ravaging effects of the crisis in Darfur and subsequently retained the position in Nigeria where former President Olusegun Obasanjo took another one year, making it two years of his reign?

The truth remains that abuse is an abuse, whether it happened in Darfur or in Harare, so why did they refuse to apply the same rules to Mugabe?

Whatever factor might have influenced the choice of Mugabe as A.U. chairman for the next one year, A.U. leaders should be reminded that they cannot be condemning impediments to democratic governance and human rights violations and at the same time failing to act when it was time for them to demonstrate and prove to the world in deeds that they truly mean the condemnations made in public.

President Mugabe on his part should not interpret his election despite various protests staged in that regard as open acceptance of his poor democratic records. Instead, he should view it as a rare opportunity given to him to make (an about face) and as well reposition his country and give clear and convincing democratic direction to his country and by extension the African Union comprising 54 independent countries in the continent.

Read more at AllAfrica.