ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe handed over the chairmanship of the African Union to the Chad President Idriss Déby at the 26th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
Pomp and fanfare marked the atmosphere at the African Union hall on Saturday, as Mugabe gave his final speech as chairman before African leaders.
Tell them, tell them we are not ghosts, that we also belong to the world
The speech lasted for nearly an hour amid incessant interruptions with rounds of applause. His inauguration, a year before, had attracted equal fervour from African leaders.
In his final speech as AU chairperson, Mugabe told United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, in attendance, to advise the West to “shut their mouths” in voicing its opposition to his 35-year rule.
Mugabe, Africa’s oldest president, said he won’t budge, “I will be there until God says come and join the others. But as long as I am still alive, I’ll still have the punch,” to roaring applause.
And in a tone that hit seemed to hit home, the nonagenarian lambasted the UN for showing no commitment to a reform of its security council.
“Tell them, tell them we are not ghosts, that we also belong to the world … part of the world called Africa, and Africans shall no longer tolerate a position of slavery, slavery by any other name, by denial of rights, slavery by being treated in a manner we regard as not equal to the manner in which they treat themselves,” Mugabe said
He suggested a mass exodus of African countries from the body, as was proposed in the case of the International Criminal Court.
“If we decide, as we shall certainly do so one of these days, that down with the United Nations, we are not members of it, others are real members of it, we are artificial members of it, we can’t continue to be artificial members of it,” the Zimbabwean leader said.
In a media briefing at the summit, UN Secretary General Ban said the international body’s reform may not be realised for as long as African member states did not speak in one voice.
“Member states should show a purpose of unity rather than their national or regional interest, based on their national interest. I don’t think that the reform will be realised if they have different views, and they should speak in one voice in detail,” he said.