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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Mugabe Is A Has Been, Mr. Pratt

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Jan. 31, 2015

The appointment of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as Chairman of the 54-country African Union (AU), has absolutely no significance, whatsoever, on the global political landscape. If anything at all, it makes a predictable laughing stock of the African leaders who appointed the 90-year-old dictator and embarrasses the rest of us forward-looking lovers of constitutional democracy of the highest order (See "Mugabe Is An African Hero - Pratt" / 1/31/15).

It is a uniquely African problem, contrary to what Mr. Kwesi Pratt would have his audiences and fellow faux-socialist truckers believe; and it is exclusively Africans, not the West, who have to squarely deal with the image problem that Mr. Mugabe's appointment presents for us to the rest of the world, in terms of the level of intelligence, responsibility, foresight and credibility of African leaders.

The new AU Chairman cannot also legitimately be said to represent the democratic choice and will of the overwhelming majority of Africans, because Mr. Mugabe was not elected by universal suffrage or the popular ballot. Rather, it was just a cynical and rascally band of other equally corrupt African leaders, among them brazen military dictators and ballot snatchers, that appointed one of their own to represent their unenviable class of reprobates.

Indeed, what makes the AU chairmanship appointment of Mr. Mugabe all the more appropriate is the fact that the latter succeeds Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. And no distinguished scholar of African politics or history would accuse Mr. Abdel Aziz of having run a model democratic regime and/or culture in his country. To be certain, Mauritania, together with the former "Republic" of Sudan, is a veritable modern slave state.

And so if this is the image that African leaders want to present of themselves to the global community, then, of course, that is their inalienable right. And yes, former Prime Minister Mugabe was at one time the revolutionary leader to emulate and an enviable role model for the African liberation struggle, but that was nearly twenty years ago. Indeed, since 1990, the leadership of the Zimbabwean premier has not been morally, economically and politically edifying.

If anything at all, the leadership of Mr. Mugabe has seriously and effectively undermined the moral and practical significance of the independence movement. His summary seizures of arable lands occupied and cultivated by white Zimbabwean farmers for the use of his cronies and political associates have not caused any remarkable improvement in the lives of the majority African populace in that southern African country.

And so it is not clear precisely what he means, when the man who has been grooming his 40-something-year-old wife to assume his country's reins of governance, in the inevitable event of his transition, exuberantly declares that: "During my tenure as [AU] Chair, I intend to deliberately provoke your thoughts to pay special attention to issues of infrastructure, value addition, agriculture and climate change." This is the very man who thoroughly ran the economy of his country aground, and it had to take the inventive guidance of Ghana's renowned economic wizard, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, to rescue Harare from the brink of economic chaos.

Mr. Mugabe is bound to be succeeded as AU Chairman by Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh, as I clearly see it. And for those of our readers who may not be very familiar with his name, Mr. Jammeh is the 49-year-old former soldier-turned-dictator who claims to have been divinely ordained by Allah to continue ruling the country whose helm of affairs he violently usurped nearly two decades ago for one-billion years! These are the sort of clowns that masquerade as heads of state and government in Africa.


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