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02.07.2008 Editorial

AU, a toothless mongrel?

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Over the past three months, we have used this column to criticize the political situation in Zimbabwe. We have taken this decision because we have the moral duty to ensure rule of law and respect for democracy on the African continent.

Unfortunately, the African Union (AU), which is supposed to support the desire by both domestic and International media to ensure that rule of law and proper democracy works in Zimbabwe, has kept mute and is refusing to bring President Robert Mugabe to book.

One cannot talk about the existence of proper democracy, where an election is held with the government and President in power as the sole candidate, but this is what has happened in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe, with the support of the security agencies had suppressed the activities of the opposition- all in his desire to become President for life. To make matters worse, several opposition party members have been killed just to put the fear of God in the people.

When the opposition parties, led by Morgan Tsvangirai finally decided to pull out of the Presidential run-off, Mugabe went ahead with the elections as the sole candidate, without addressing the concern about the alleged state supported killings of opposition supporters. After what could best be described as a sham of an election, it took just 24hrs for the final results to be declared and for Mugabe to be sworn in as the President of Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, it took the same Electoral Commission over a month to declare the final results during the first Presidential polls, which was won by the opposition. Despite this deliberate manipulation by Mugabe to perpetuate himself in power, no African leader has come out to openly condemn the behaviour of Mugabe, except the Prime Minister of Kenya, Mr. Odinga and few others.

After declaring himself the winner of that shameful election, Mugabe flew to Egypt to attend the AU summit where he was welcomed by his colleague heads of state, who dined and chatted with him. Clearly, the attitude of our African leaders is nothing but a complete disgrace to the black race of the world. The Chronicle is, however, not surprised because most of these African leaders have also forced themselves on their countries. Here, we can make mention of the Paul Biyas, Mubarraks, Ghadafis, Contes, Dos Santos and Omar Bongos of this world. So-called elections organized by the aforementioned leaders in their respective countries are nothing but a mockery of democracy. In such a situation, one does not expect these leaders to rebuke Mugabe because they do not have the moral right to do so.

We therefore, call on the international community to compel Mugabe to respect democracy and proper rule of law in Zimbabwe, whose citizens are suffering from harsh economic conditions. The Chronicle is aware that the US in particular, is calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe, which is a laudable initiative, but we appeal to them not to impose sanctions that would exacerbate the conditions of the already impoverished people of Zimbabwe. The sanction should rather target Mugabe and his cohorts.

We suggest that sanctions against Mugabe and his Ministers should be tightened, such as the ban from traveling and investing outside of Zimbabwe. The International community should also punish any leader who disobeys the international sanctions against Mugabe. The sanctions should only be reviewed after he has agreed to supervise free and fair elections or engages the opposition in a form of unity government. It is the hope of The Chronicle that if these suggestions are taken on board, it would prevent leaders who wish to behave like despots and dictators.

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