via Zanu PF feud threatens Mugabe’s AU, Sadc reign NewsDay January 19, 2015
ANALYSTS have expressed fears that President Robert Mugabe might not be able to fully discharge his continental duties as chairmanship of the African Union (AU) and Sadc when the bodies separately meet next week at a time his Zanu PF party is in turmoil.
Mugabe, who is currently on leave, chairs the AU and Sadc meetings when the continental bodies are also battling political problems in Lesotho, Mozambique, South Sudan and the Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said Mugabe’s reign in Sadc and the AU will be seriously affected by domestic problems.
“While Sadc and AU have their own established structures to deal with problems, the fact that Mugabe is involved in his own fights at home will affect his leadership at that level where in the past we have noticed that the chair plays a critical role in solving problems,” Mangongera said.
He added: “It is a paradox that this man (Mugabe), who is failing to keep peace in his own party, is expected to deal with a myriad of troubles in the region and continent.”
Mugabe has since December been trying to consolidate his hold on power in Zanu PF after it held a divisive congress that left the party on the verge of splitting after several stalwarts were dumped in an unprocedural manner.
Another political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said Mugabe’s assumption of the chairmanship was not significant since it was a rotational position in a dying organisation.
“It’s just a formality. These are rotating positions and have nothing to do with the personalities than the country holding the position,” Mandaza said.
He added: “Regional and continental organisations are now largely moribund and African initiatives have waned on the back of failure in leadership at national, regional and continental levels where beacons of leadership like Nkwame Nkrumah are no longer available.”
Mandaza further said the AU and Sadc now usually follow the lead of international organisations like the United Nations in their approach to solve African problems.
Africa’s failure to deal with its own problems has been exhibited in cases like conflicts in South Sudan which has a fragile peace process since its recent independence, failure to intervene in sectarian violence in Libya and lack of decisive action on Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria.
Both Sadc and the AU have failed to bring lasting peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998 where no central government has ever had complete control of the vast mineral-rich Central African state.
Mugabe will also have to work closely with the European Union and other continental blocs to increase the influence of Africa in international politics and trade policies.