June 30th 2008
ny hope that African despots and oligarchs heads of state gathered in Cairo for the African Union summit would send the rest of the world – and the poor people of Zimbabwe – a message that election-stealing … no, make that country-stealing … won’t be tolerated any longer on the African continent went up in smoke today.
Here’s the Times of London report from the African Union summit in Cairo:
A defiant Robert Mugabe has sailed unchallenged through the first test of his presidency by his peers.
Freshly sworn in after a single candidate election, he received a leader’s welcome when he strode into the African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday and emerged unfazed, his authority intact.
He dined at a lavish luncheon given by his Egyptian hosts, hugged heads of state and other diplomats in the corridors and stayed at the Peninsula Hotel, one of the most luxurious in this Red Sea town. “Mr Mugabe is staying there as a courtesy by the Egyptian Government,” a hotel spokesman said.
A draft resolution at the AU meeting fails to criticize either Mugabe or the election. Read the entire article here.
This sad turn of events can be used to point out the sorry state of democracy and human rights in Africa, but it’s really more telling as an indictment of the entire concept of international affairs by committee.
- The UN’s ability to derail despots is nonexistent, as seen by the situations now in Darfur and previously in Rwanda. All it’s good for is periodically coughing up a hairball of a resolution against the US or Israel.
- The EU is taking all of Europe to a lowest common denominator of nationhood.
- The EU’s big three, England, France and Germany, have been incapable of railing in Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
- The Arab League has been unable to do anything more with the Palestinians’ sorry state than use it to flog Israel.
I didn’t really expect much out of the AU, even though its own watchdogs had judged the Zimbabwe election to be fraud-ridden. If committee rule doesn’t work in general, it really doesn’t work in Africa, where dictators hold on fiercely against the change times of our world.
What would work?
Well, power works in situations like this. I am reminded of what happened in Europe when Russia decided to exert some power, shutting down its natural gas pipelines. That got some attention. Or when the U.S. decided that Saddam Hussein had reached its expiration date.
Removing Mugabe will take nothing less but the economic and power stakes in Zimbabwe are so inconsequential that the despicable old man will probably die in office.