Mugabe’s AU post 'insignificant'

Cape Town - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s recent election to a top African Union (AU) position should not be seen as significant, the Institute for  Security Studies has said, quashing reports that the veteran leader’s appointment could give him some form of credibility.

“It’s wrong to see Zimbabwe's election to the Bureau as significant. The positions on the Bureau are rotational and it was Zimbabwe’s turn, Institute for Security Studies, Jakkie Cilliers told News24.

Mugabe was appointed first deputy chair of the AU executive council, a title for a potentially high-profile job.

The appointment was made at the AU assembly summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week.

According to the Herald, Mugabe’s election to the post positioned him to assume the AU chairmanship next year.

Africa's autocrats

Cilliers said Mugabe could never be considered the future of the continent but “rather part of a diminishing number of Africa’s autocrats”.

African leaders at the summit also resolved not to attend the European Union-AU summit scheduled for Brussels in April if Mugabe was not invited.

But Cilliers said the leaders’ decision was one of “principle” rather than support for Zimbabwe or Mugabe.

Cilliers said it was wrong for African leaders to think that the continent could survive without help from the West although China was now Africa's largest trading partner.

“Whilst China is now Africa's largest trading partner, Europe remains as important.  European investment is much larger than that of China and relations with Africa are deeper,” said Cilliers


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