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.
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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs