HARARE - After jetting into Harare on Friday evening to meet with Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo — on the back of his month-long holiday overseas — President Robert Mugabe is expected to fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to hand over the chairmanship of the African Union.
At the same time, analysts and critics have described the nonagenarian’s tenure at the helm of the AU as one of the worst ever after he allegedly failed to impact positively on the spectre of hunger, poverty and wars that continue to plague the continent.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme told the Daily News that Mugabe had failed to address “all the important issues that are affecting Africa”.
“His term will go down in history as a non-event. Pressing issues included the refugee crisis which has seen thousands of Africans dying trying to reach Europe, civil wars in the DRC, Somalia and Central African Republic, and terrorism in Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia,” Saungweme said.
Respected political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, also said Mugabe had not carried out his mandate as the AU chairperson effectively.
However, he said Mugabe was not squarely to blame as the AU chairmanship was honorary.
“We have to take into account the institutional structures of the AU. It is not structured for success.
“It is not like the European Union which is a powerful commission,” Masunungure said.
He added though that compared to previous AU leaders, who were more robust in the execution of their duties, Mugabe had done little.
UK-based political analyst Alex Magaisa said the AU chairmanship had been “a personal notch” for Mugabe, with no benefit for Zimbabwe, adding that the country had needed Mugabe’s undiluted attention during this time.
Throughout most of last year, Mugabe acted as if he was determined to live up to his nicknames “Absentee President” and “Visiting Leader” — as he spent more time in the skies and outside the country than he did running the country in his office back home.
The opposition has also routinely accused Mugabe of not caring enough for the country’s suffering citizens because of his jet-setting ways.
They say it is immoral that he should be globe-trotting at great expense to the fiscus at a time when the country is facing many serious challenges, including a comatose economy.