The African Union (AU) is reportedly getting ready to
counter threats by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe ahead of this month’s
presidential election run-off. Some Zimbabweans are reportedly skeptical about
the prospects of an AU intervention, calling it too little too late. This comes
after African dignitaries including former heads of state signed a petition
calling on the Harare government to end escalated violence ahead of the
run-off. But some political analysts believe the AU does not have the capacity
to put pressure on the Mugabe-led government to ensure a free and fair vote.
John Makumbe is a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe. He
tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Harare that President Mugabe is
a disgrace to the African Union.
“I think I
would say that it’s about time the African Union made a stand against Robert
Mugabe. It’s really an embarrassment to the African Union. And his utterances
are very much an embarrassment to the African union because they really say he
is the ultimate power in Zimbabwe, and even in Africa he is masquerading as
someone who is invincible. No one can stop him from doing whatever he wants,
and I think that is very embarrassing to the African Union,” Makumbe pointed out.
said there are many options the African Union can employ to pressure incumbent
President Mugabe into ensuring an end to the escalating violence and a free and
fair vote later this month.
starters, the African Union can flood Zimbabwe with observers for this run-off
election, and they can make sure that the people they send into Zimbabwe go to
the rural areas as well as to the urban areas. That is the second thing they
could do, and the third thing they could do is to give Mugabe the ultimatum to
stop the violence that he is perpetrating in Zimbabwe or else they might do the
forth thing. They might have to put together a standing army, which can be
flown into Zimbabwe to do peacekeeping work during the elections and after the
elections. They can do any of those things, and they can do them reasonably
quickly,” he said.
Makumbe said the inability of the African Union to help end
the violence and ensure a free vote in the upcoming run-off would be seen as a
will impact very negatively on the African Union, it will clearly send a
message that the African Union is a toothless bulldog. It has a really loud
bark, but its bite is completely impotent. And it will also send a message to
the people of Zimbabwe, which will say even though the election will be neither
free nor fair it can still be won. Robert Mugabe can still lose this election
in spite of and sometimes because of his utterances and the action that he has
taken against the people of Zimbabwe. People normally don’t vote for the
contestant who will have beaten them up, burnt tier house down, raped them and
kill them,” Makumbe noted.
said although the opposition faces have an uphill task of unseating incumbent
President Mugabe in the run-off, the MDC could still win the election.
think I expect the MDC to win with a huge margin. I expect the people of
Zimbabwe to be courageous enough to say yes we have been beaten, we have been
harassed, we have been tortured, but we know how to vote and we will vote for
change. And to vote for change is to vote for the MDC, it is to vote for Morgan
Tsvangirai and it is to vote against Robert Mugabe because he has proved over and
above all else that he is not fit to govern this country,” he said.
Meanwhile, incumbent President Robert Mugabe reportedly
said yesterday (Sunday) that he is prepared to hand over power to a member of
the ruling ZANU-PF party when he is sure the country was safe from what he
described as sellouts and from colonialist British interference.