Zimbabwe Not On AU Summit Agenda

Addis Ababa, January 21, 2013 – The Zimbabwean crisis does not feature anywhere on the agenda of the Africa Union Summit which begins here on Monday, despite that it remains a crisis, Den Moyo, Co-ordinator of 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest.

Moyo said in a statement that the only available press report last year about the AU and Zimbabwe was stating that this was the second year running that Zimbabwe had not featured in AU discussions, with officials saying Zimbabwe was no longer considered a “critical issue”.

This year again the SADC executive secretary, Tomaz Salamao, is quoted saying that leaders meeting for the AU summit in Addis Ababa would only set a date for a Zimbabwe Summit.

“Other reports are talking about a proposal to dispatch an AU Council of Elders, possibly including retired presidents, Kenneth Kaunda and Jerry Rawlings,” said Moyo.

Kaunda is 89 and was Zambia’s first President from its independence in 1964 to 1991. Rawlings is a former coup leader who was later elected President.

“What force they have to bring to bear on Mugabe, if he decides to continue with his intransigence, is questionable,” said Moyo.

“The chairmanship of outgoing AU chairman, Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi has been a waste of time on the Zimbabwean issue, and the fact that he stopped over in Harare to debrief President Mugabe at the end of his chairmanship, suggests that President Mugabe is well aware of what will be going on at Addis Ababa next week, unlike his rivals,” added Moyo.

“The AU’s own report about Dr Yayi’s meeting with President Mugabe is quite telling: President Robert Mugabe reportedly assured him of peaceful and friendly elections in Zimbabwe this year, yet Mugabe has not fulfilled the SADC conditions for peaceful elections, and SADC has not reported to the AU on the Zimbabwean process.”

An interesting aside was the two leaders’ differences on Western intervention in Africa, which exposed Mugabe’s fears.

Dr Yayi explained the AU’s decision to seek NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)’s intervention in Mali, which President Mugabe was not only unhappy about, but, which his party portrayed as an uninvited French invasion.

Dr. Yayi said, if the rebels had occupied Bamako it would not only be catastrophic for Mali and the sub-region, but the whole world.

“It is a matter of terrorism, it is difficult for us and I think the right way is to request for the assistance, military assistance, from NATO.”

Mugabe would rather the terrorists have overrun the Bamako government while waiting for and African force that was not expected to be ready until September.

Dr Yayi said, African countries were now ready to assist Mali after the French intervention, although military intervention was the last resort for Africa.

“The right way was to ask for assistance from NATO. We are ready to go to Mali to help our brothers,” he said.