Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (seated) waits to address the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 22, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/East). This is a guest post by Nathaniel Glidden, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Affairs with concentrations in Development and Cities & Social Justice at The New School.
The African Union (AU) Summit concluded January 31 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As had been predicted, Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, was named chairman of the AU for 2015.
The largely ceremonial position of AU chairman has a one year term and is generally awarded to the leader of the country hosting the following summit. Notwithstanding its ceremonial nature, the position of AU chairman should represent the AU’s mission of increasing citizens’ quality of life, promoting democratic principles, and protecting human rights.
Yet Mugabe’s record stands in stark contrast to this mission. The ninety-year-old autocratic leader has been Zimbabwe’s president since the country’s independence in 1980. Described as a “reign of terror,” his rule has drawn widespread criticism, and he has been condemned for committing alleged human rights abuses in 2002 ; for rigging elections; and […]