1 February 2017

Africa: Mugabe Lashes Out At African Leaders for Morocco Return to AU

Photo: Agence Marocaine de Presse
HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has lashed out at African leaders, saying they lack principles and are easily swayed after they voted to readmit Morocco to the African Union.

Thirty-nine of 54 countries approved Morocco's return to the AU at the bloc's 28th Ordinary Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday.

However, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Algeria were against the move citing Rabat's continued occupation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

President Mugabe told journalists on arrival in Harare on Tuesday that most African leaders had no ideological grounding.

"I think its lack of ideology," the 92-year-old ruler, who turns 93 later this month, said as he expressed his disappointment of the summit outcome.

"They (African leaders) have not had the same revolutionary experience as some of us and there is too much reliance on their erstwhile colonisers.

"We will still fight and see whether in fact Morocco is abandoning its occupation of parts of Sahrawi," he added.

Morocco colonised Sahrawi in 1975 and was expelled from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the AU predecessor, for violating the bloc's founding values and principles.

Its return is seen by some countries as tacit endorsement by the AU of its continued occupation of Sahrawi.

President Mugabe insinuated that African countries that supported Morocco's readmission were swayed by donor money.

"Morocco has been working for quite a long time, building mosques here, giving money at times. The game is not lost," he said. "We will fight the issue to the end.

"But that is quite a blow to some of us; we believe in rules, in the principles and we have wanted to see Morocco declare at least, that yes, we have given up the claim of occupation."

AU Commission chair

Meanwhile, President Mugabe has blamed Botswana President Ian Khama for the failure of its Foreign minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi to win the post of AU Commission chair which was taken by Chadian Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Dr Venson-Moitoi was the Southern African Development Community candidate.

The Zimbabwean leader said President Khama did not lobby enough for his minister.

"We worked behind the scenes and the poor lady tried her best," President Mugabe said.

"But the other countries were arguing that ah, you are a daughter whose father never appears at the AU and sometimes takes contrary positions (to those of the bloc). So she had no chance."

President Khama rarely attends AU meetings citing concerns that they are often unproductive and he has also, on several occasions, broken ranks with the bloc over its reluctance to condemn leaders that manipulate elections in their own countries.

Botswana was the only country that criticised President Mugabe's re-election in 2013 after widespread reports of electoral fraud.

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