The AU insists it supports free and fair elections, noting that it sends observer teams to countries holding polls and advises member states on how to address election-related problems. Later this week, the AU will name a new president, and there is near unanimous certainty that it will be Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.Mugabe, Africa’s oldest president at 90 going on 91, is the current chairperson of the Southern African Development Community. To lead the AU, he has the support of the 15 SADC members, including South Africa, to succeed Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, one of the AU’s lowest-profile chairmen for some years.
“This is a way of honoring President Mugabe and his record,” said Kaire Mbuende, a Namibian and a former SADC executive secretary, when asked about the reasons for choosing someone so controversial to be the face of Africa in its political interactions. “Zimbabwe has everything it takes to rise from the ashes. It has the human capacity. The only questions are about time and resources.”
In Nigeria, polls are scheduled to open Feb. 14, even as some 30 million people have not yet received their voter cards. The elections will be the first where Nigeria’s 68.8 million voters must have a biometric cards, a measure introduced to guard against fraud that has plagued past polls.
(Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network)