News / Africa

Group Rejects Former Nigerian Leader as AU Observer Head in Zimbabwe

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at a recent interview in Washington, D.C.Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at a recent interview in Washington, D.C.
x
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at a recent interview in Washington, D.C.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at a recent interview in Washington, D.C.
TEXT SIZE - +
James Butty
The Pan African Forum has rejected the African Union’s decision to name former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as head of the AU election observer team to Zimbabwe’s July 31st election.  

David Nyekorach-Matsanga, CEO of Pan African Forum, said the former Nigerian president is too divisive and could create an Egypt-style scenario in Zimbabwe. 

The group described former Obasanjo as a traitor who has betrayed Africa during past election monitoring missions around the continent.  

Nyekorach-Matsanga said Obasanjo has a dislike for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and a “soft spot” for the opposition, something he said could cause a conflict of interest in the election.

“We don’t have any personal hatred against General Obasanjo, but this is a man who can never be trusted to observe any elections in this African continent,” he said.

Nyekorach-Matsanga said the Zimbabwe elections are critical not only to the southern Africa region, but to the whole of Africa.

“We need sober minds, a cool observer, a person who is not erratic, a person who has not betrayed Africa before, a person who has never used double standard, and a person who has never failed election observers before,” he said.
Butty interview with Matsanga
Butty interview with Matsangai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

He said Obasanjo betrayed Africa during past election monitoring missions around the continent.

“In Ghana, Obasanjo created a problem when he was the leader of an observer team; in Togo, Obasanjo created a problem; in Senegal, Obasanjo created a problem; in DRC, when Obasanjo was the leader of the negotiations between (renegade CNDP rebel leader Laurent) Nkunda and the Congolese government, he created a problem and aborted that mission,” he said.

Nyekorach-Matsanga said the former Nigerian president has no democratic credentials to lead a continental election monitoring mission because, as president of Nigeria, basanjo attempted to change the constitution in 2006 to give himself a third term.

In addition, Nyekorach-Matsanga said Obasanjo cannot be an impartial observer because he has in the past called Mugabe’s resignation.

“Obasanjo has called for the removal of President Mugabe violently.  He has also taken sides with Morgan Tsvangirai.  It is very, very incredible for any institution to take a man who has already taken sides to go and observe an election in a country that is facing an uphill task to produce a free and fair election,” he said.

Nyekorach-Matsanga boasts of the fact that his organization defended Zimbabwe against Western sanctions.  Yet, he said, he’s not biased in criticizing Obasanjo.

“We have not only been supporters of President Mugabe, we have been supporting the entire country against sanctions.  We are not rejecting Obasanjo because we hit MDC.  No!  We are only saying the elections in the Zimbabwe need a sober head, somebody whose track record is not litter with lies like Obasanjo,” Nyekorach-Matsanga said.

The AU observer mission is said to comprise 60 observers drawn from African electoral management bodies, civil society organizations, Pan-African Parliament, regional economic communities and human rights organizations.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid