Mugabe, Dlamini-Zuma set to leave continental posts

All roads lead to Addis Ababa this week as the African Union holds its summit.

Sunday January 24 2016

By CIUGU MWAGIRU
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All roads lead to Addis Ababa this week as the African Union holds its summit, culminating next weekend in the 26th ordinary session of the assembly of heads of state and government.

The session will, hopefully, result in the election of a titular head of the AU to replace Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

During his year-long stint, the usually fiery Mugabe has kept a relatively low profile.

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s first stint will come to an end mid this year.

Believed to be eyeing a political office in South Africa, she is unlikely to contest a second term.

The incoming AU president will have to contend with the escalating and more devastating terrorist attacks in countries like Kenya, Somalia, Mali and Nigeria.

AFRICAN REFUGEES

Also waiting to be addressed are matters relating to the predicament of refugees who have died in huge numbers attempting to cross to Europe.

Reluctant to view them as bona fide asylum seekers, the EU has offered funds to countries of origin as an incentive to stop their nationals from leaving.

Such urgent matters aside, reports of hotspots that have sprung up in different countries are a cause for worry.

The hotspots are a setback the African renaissance that has brought hope to many.

Among the places that have experienced turmoil is Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring revolt that brought down several leaders, including the country’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

As a pointer to the festering instability, disillusioned youths last week went on the rampage. Some said many of the social problems highlighted in 2011 had not been tackled.

As the youths took to the streets in several cities, Tunisian authorities declared a curfew that went into effect on Friday.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, since the 2011 revolt - triggered by the self-immolation of a market stall owner called Mohamed Bouazizi - unemployment has become worse.

More than a third of the country’s young people are unemployed, with 62 per cent of graduates without work.

SECURITY CRISIS

In Mozambique, the security situation has been deteriorating, leading to the flight of 3,500 people to Malawi.

This has led to fears of a refugee crisis in southern Africa.

The crisis is as a result of intermittent fighting between government forces and Renamo rebels.

On the positive side, though, a potentially intractable post-election crisis on the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean Zanzibar islands seems to be headed for a resolution.

The perennially volatile Zanzibar has over the past few years been a theatre of sectarian and political tensions that sometimes erupted into violence.

The latest crisis has been brewing since Tanzanian elections on October 28. Zanzibar presidential polls results were annulled.

Gratefully, though, repeat elections on the islands are due to take place on March 20 in a climate of improved security.

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