The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr. has lashed out at Western critics condemning the election of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as AU Chairman.
“Africa has made its choice and they will have to deal with it,” he said.
According to him, the West’s anger and disagreement over the election of the Zimbabwean leader is due to their desire to prevent the African from being politically conscious which will make them stand up for themselves.
Mr Pratt said the West is in no position to dictate to Africa what it must and must not do or who it is allowed to select as a leader.
These people, according to him, have not made half of the sacrifices Robert Mugabe has made for his country and its people.
He said the struggle for freedom from the West and the desire for Africa to be independent would not have been possible without people like the Zimbabwean leader.
“Mugabe is an African hero, he is a shining example of people who led in the fight against colonialism. All the people who are criticising him have not made half of the sacrifice Mugabe has made for his country,” Kwesi Pratt noted for his anti-Western stand on issues, maintained.
He questioned why Africa cannot be allowed to make its own decisions; “who are David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Barack Obama to tell us who our heroes are,”? The African is capable of deciding who leads her, he added.
African leaders yesterday appointed 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union.
Mugabe has ruled his country since 1980 and succeeds Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as the AU chair.
The announcement was made during the African Union’s two-day heads of state summit at the organization’s headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
Following his appointment, many have questioned his ability to chair the Union when he is seen as a dictator by his own country and its people.
But Mr Pratt who is against the notion questioned why he is being called a dictator when the West itself is practicing the worst form of dictatorship.
“Many people have said Mugabe is a dictator and is therefore unfit to lead the AU but that is baffling because the European Union decided that the citizens of Greece, in the country’s recent crisis should not be consulted about the economy and things that affect them, isn’t that dictatorship?”
According to Mr Pratt, President Obama has committed several atrocities and has since coming to power, “killed thousands of people across the world as part of his foreign policies, that has not been sanctioned yet they are complaining about Mugabe who is only trying to take back what has been stolen from his people.
“Obama sits in his office and decides who should die and he is a democrat and Mugabe is a dictator. The southern monarchy which presides over a country where women are not allowed to drive and people are being flogged on daily basis, has not been questioned they don’t seem to have a problem with that. Saudi Arabia then a democracy and Zimbabwe is not”, he continued.
Mugabe too old
Robert Mugabe’s age has also been an issue as he is elected AU chair but Mr. Pratt said the decision of the people of Zimbabwe to elect Robert Mugabe as president should not be questioned because it was their choice and it must be respected.
He said, “Mugabe may be too old but he is not the oldest leader in the world. How old is the Queen of England and why can she lead a country and Mugabe cannot. Is it because the African is inferior?
“They…don’t have any time limitations, why should Africa have one? In any case age should not be the yardstick to determine who a leader is. It is not for Britain, Holland or Obama to determine who we choose as leaders. African leaders have made their choice and that is what will remain”, he added.
Effect of Mugabe’s ban
Robert Mugabe is currently subject to travel bans from both the United States and European Union in protest at political violence and intimidation of opponents.
His appointment as AU chair therefore raises concerns as to whether he can perform his functions effectively.
Mr Pratt predicts that the United States and the European Union will be compelled to take off the ban and work with Mugabe especially because “Mugabe now speaks for Africa.”
Africa is where they feed and make their dollars and pounds and they fear they will lose the contribution Africa makes for their economies, he said, adding that “they better be careful and listen to Africa. We are not the weak ones so they better listen to us.”
Mr Pratt is confident that the continent has a bright future despite the domination by neocolonial figures and that “Africa will win this war and we will not listen to empty gossip.”