The Independent (Kampala)

Africa: Mugabe Wants Continent to Have One President

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, on Jan.15 called upon his peers to focus on the appointment of one president to lead Africa when the forthcoming African Union (AU) summit meets soon.

Mugabe said the summit should discuss the appointment of a 'President of Africa' to foster unity among Africans and ensure that member states adhere to the founding principles of the original Organization of African Unity (OAU).

"Yes, we need a President for Africa," Mugabe said. "That is what we are going to discuss at the AU summit. Africa is not a united continent. We are not at the stage our founding fathers wanted us to be when the organ was formed," he is reported as saying by the Zimbabwe publication News Day.

Addressing journalists at State House in Harare alongside his guest, Thomas Boni Yayi, the president of Benin, who is also the outgoing AU chairman, Mugabe said the AU had failed to integrate Africans, with some only seeing themselves in the context of Anglophones and others Francophones.

The proposal to set up a 'United States of Africa' was first mooted by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 1999 as a way of ending the continent's conflicts, but it failed to gain enough support from his African counterparts, including Uganda's president Museveni-- with some doubting Gaddafi's real motive.

But Mugabe emphasized Africa should have one president who would help fight divisions and move Africa to a continental power from the regional shell he claimed it is today.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for over 30 years and is only 36 days shy of his 90th birthday said he was pleased that even though Zimbabweans had political differences, they had realised they were guided by the same destiny and hoped the forthcoming elections scheduled for March would be peaceful. Mugabe is expected to stand again for another term in office.

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