AU divided on what to do about Zimbabwe

Staff writer
On Saturday the African Union executive council side-stepped any decision on what to do about Zimbabwe. It's reported that they're waiting for Sunday's meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council and the heads of state summit the day after.

AU foreign ministers have been quarrelling behind closed doors about the issue and have no doubt been hoping that the difficult issue of Zimbabwe would just go away.”The whole first closed doors session was devoted to Zimbabwe, and delegates spoke very frankly on the seriousness of the situation,” said Senegalese Foreign Minister Sheikh Tidian Gadio.

Gadio told AFP: “There is every hope of reaching a solution and it is possible that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, plays an important role in his country — executive prime minister for example, with guarantees.”
A proposal on the lines of one that brought Kenya out of post-election violence, received a very old reception from some AU members and was openly scorned by representatives of civil groups in Africa.
The decision to not make a decision comes as preparations are reportedly underway for Robert Mugabe to be sworn in as President on Sunday. Mugabe is expected to fly out to summit in Egpyt shortly after the ceremony has concluded.

The head of the African Defence of Human Rights, Alioune Tine from Senegal, said: “Today, if you accept what is going on in Zimbabwe, you can say ‘goodbye’ to elections in Africa. It is a real challenge today for the AU heads of state and government for them to say ‘Stop,'” He called on the election result not to be recognized and argued that a Kenya-style compromise “removes all significance and content from elections. This scenario is bad … If we accept this experience today, tomorrow another head of state is going to profit from it.”

The pressure on the AU to intervene in the Zimbabwean crisis has steadily increased, with global agreement that African leaders will have the most influence on Mugabe. Africa leaders have also been at the centre of wide spread criticism for taking so long to condemn the violence in Zimbabwe. Pressure groups and civic organizations have since said it is now time for the AU to match its condemnation with deeds, to send Mugabe a strong message.

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