Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s 90-year-old president, has assumed the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) with a call for members to improve infrastructure and tackle climate change, conflict and Ebola, and with a familiar rallying cry that Africa’s wealth belongs to Africa and not “imperialists and colonialists”.

The veteran leader, who was elected head of the union on Friday, replaces President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, of Mauritania.

“By electing me to preside over this august body, with full knowledge of the onerous responsibility that lies ahead, I humbly accept your collective decision,” Mugabe told the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

“I do so, confident that I can always count on your full support and cooperation in the execution of the important mandate you have given me.”

The president, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, said the focus of his tenure would be on “issues of infrastructure, value addition and benefication, agriculture and climate change in the context of Africa’s development”.

The continent’s underdeveloped roads, railways and air and sea networks, he said, were hampering efforts to improve trade, investment and tourism. “We need to continue–and perhaps redouble–our current collective efforts in this sector.

“Given that the continent is rich in mineral resources–and resources should be seen to contribute more meaningfully to Africa’s development–they are our wealth and we must guard against their being exploited for the benefit of others.”

If Africa continued missing out on the full benefits of its mineral wealth by exporting its resources in their raw or semi-raw form, said Mugabe, people would remain unemployed and languishing “in extreme poverty”.

Similarly, he said, Africa’s “vast agricultural potential” had to be harnessed by ensuring that people had access to the land on which so many depend.

Mugabe said his own government’s land reforms–intended, he suggested, precisely to take land from “colonisers” and give it back to Zimbabweans–had seen his country subjected to “practical demonisation . . . from those who had selfish and vested interests in our land”.

Nevertheless, said Mugabe, production in the tobacco sector had now far surpassed levels attained by the white farmers who worked the land before they were expropriated.

But such agricultural progress could not be taken for granted. “Since we are the most vulnerable as a continent, it is imperative that we actively champion our interests within the framework of the UN’s climate change negotiations.”

Referring to the ongoing conflicts in Libya, South Sudan and Central African Republic–and the turmoil in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo–Mugabe said the union needed to work harder to bring about sustainable peace on the continent.

He also raised the “intolerable” atrocities perpertarted by Boko Haram. “The scourge of terrorism and all its attendant evils threatens all our gains achieved since 1963,” he said.

“In the coming year we therefore should deliberate and find lasting solutions to the scourge of terrorism, the loss of innocent [life] and the destruction of property inflicted by terrorists recently in Cameroon and Nigeria.”

Mugabe identified Ebola as another scourge. While he said he had been heartened to see that “a lot of ground has already been covered” in combating the epidemic, he stressed the disease still needed to be fought and eradicated.

Characteristically, he could not resist gloating over recent oil reserve discoveries across the continent. “Oil. Oil. Oil–which the blind eyes of colonialists could not see!” he said.

“God bless! It was the handiwork of the Almighty. We thank him for it. For sure, African resources should belong to Africa and to no one else except those we invite as friends. Friends we shall have, yes, but imperialists and colonialists no more. Africa is for Africans.”

Despite the applause that greeted his words, the decision to appoint Mugabe as president of the AU was not universally popular within the ranks of the union.

Although many Africans revere him as a hero of the liberation struggle, Mugabe’s autocratic style of rule and intolerance of dissent or opposition has left him increasingly isolated on the international stage. His use of political violence and intimidation has resulted in travel bans from the US and EU.

“It’s not a very encouraging sign,” one African diplomat, who asked not to be identified, had told Agence France-Press in the runup to the announcement. “The Mugabe style belongs to a past generation, the one that takes power hostage, and this is no longer the AU creed.”

Jeggan Grey-Johnson, a spokesman of the pan-African civil society coalition, the AU We Want, said Mugabe’s election would send “mixed signals and an extremely awkward message on international levels on how the AU stands on principles of democracy and good governance”.

Others, however, have defended the move. “Who am I to say to the people, you have elected the wrong leader?” said Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairman of the AU commission. “The people have chosen: the important thing is that you must follow the constitution of your country.”

Some diplomats attending the Addis summit have described Mugabe’s election as an “unfortunate accident” springing from the tradition of rotating the post between Africa’s regions.

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  • phorning

    How are the land reforms a model for the continent? Most African countries don’t have many white land owners to steal land from and even in Zimbabwe Mugabe is running out of them. Not a real good long term strategy, but that’s never been his focus anyway.

    • John Smith

      He’s stealing land from negroes now to give to his wife.

      • Marthinus Potgieter

        the alternative was – being boiled alive in a pot !

  • ejXinMI

    I heartily agree with Mr. Mugabe: “Africa is for Africans”. I am certain this means he will embark on a vigorous campaign to relocate Africans living in America back to that dark continent.

    • I’d be one of the first to donate to that great cause, you know, the one that Abraham Lincoln had actually started to implement prior to his assassination (gee, thanks John Wilkes Booth!).

    • Jim Kental

      Amen to that. Let them all return to their “motherland”/dump and kill each other off.

    • Alucard_the_last

      Africa is for Africans not Europe or North America.

    • benvad

      Now it’s time to repatriate his long lost cousins. We could also send him our wonderful tribe of “Amish” people to be his accountants.

    • Cid Campeador

      That would be a dream come true.

  • LHathaway

    Well, we certainly know what to call it when we take back land from immigrants. The people should have a voice and the people’s voice should be heard.

  • IstvanIN

    Tobacco production is up? Hard to believe. What I would like to know is tobacco production up because they simply planted more acres or because they increased the yield per acre? One is impressive, the other not so much.

    • Jeff

      Tobacco production is up? Probably because the former owners never planted tobacco. Why plant a crop that is demonized and on the decline in consumption?

      • Cid Campeador

        Maybe they’ll all become chain smokers.

  • dd121

    When these white-hating black communists speak, whites would do well to listen.

  • Chip Carver

    Let them all starve. Once Europe straightens out and the US crumbles, there will be no more charity or welfare for Africans and ‘latinos’ in the US, never mind the rest of the world. Their population levels will drop in dramatic fashion, and will be where they should be after less time than most people imagine. Most blacks and latinos would not even exist today were it not for “charity” and/or welfare. Not only in the US, but in Africa and Latin America (and to a lesser extent, Europe).

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was set to intensify its land grabs, targeting the country’s remaining white farmers and those with multi farms.

    The price Zim is paying for driving off the White farmers is starvation.

    Johannesburg —

    Last November, China pledged to give Africa some $1 trillion in aid over the next 12 years.

    Zimbabwe and its autocrat, President Robert Mugabe, need the money. The country is isolated, financially tattered, and increasingly desperate economically. Its financial obligations are $11 billion in arrears, and with its ongoing ideological standoff against the West, the nation is unable to borrow from the IMF, the World Bank and the UN.

    It has no viable industries, and with more than 85 percent of the population unemployed and an estimated 20-25 percent of Zimbabweans living outside the nation, an inability to secure a stability loan could breed serious political problems.

    It appeared that China would step in, solve the autocrat’s problems, validate his so-called “Look East” policy, and gain a stronger foothold in southern Africa. ..

    Yet in what appears to be an embarrassing slap, China’s much-touted bail-out – or at least Mugabe’s portrayal of it – now appears to have fallen through.

    Let them suffer and starve for the way they treated Whites.

    Before the last White leaves, I hope any Whites left destroy everything. Fill in the wells, raze the the buildings, fell the trees, plow up the crops, dismantle and destroy any farm equipment. Disconnect the electrical grid, water pipes and sewer system.

    Let them have a wasteland, as it was when Whites first settled there.

    They must leave Zim exactly the way their ancestors found it

    • benvad

      The Africans will accomplish all of that by themselves.

  • Ed

    Bob,

    Resources are only valuable if you know how to exploit them for practical use or trade then to others that do. Otherwise they’re just rocks.

    • IstvanIN

      Which is why in Africa they weren’t exploited until the Europeans came along.

  • I’m quite OK with this, provided the rest of the world provides them no money or food aid at all.

    • dd121

      Oh, but they will.

    • Dr.Bazzi

      Let them eat Tobacco they don’t need bread

  • Speedy Steve

    “Nevertheless, said Mugabe, production in the tobacco sector had now far
    surpassed levels attained by the white farmers who worked the land
    before they were expropriated.”

    I recommend Zimbabwean farmers plant more poppies and marijuana along with the tobacco. You know how Africans love to get down an boogie. Opening a few dozen more stills and jenkum factories could be yet another good idea. Oh, and you might try to grow some food while you’re at it.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    Black actions speak louder than the white Liberal words used to excuse those actions. Here, other black leaders are promoting the most vehemently anti-white national leader to the top continental role specifically because he is the most anti-white national leader who opposes “imperialists and colonists” (i.e. whites). The action speaks for itself, yet Liberals white media members will likely ignore the story or discuss it in terms of blacks empowerment.

    Meanwhile, Europeans who don’t want to be colonized by Africans and Asians and who don’t want to be a part of the new EU empire will be ridiculed by the same media members as backward, xenophobic, nationalist, and racist.

  • MartelsGhost

    Out of the frying pan and into the fire……………………

  • Jim Kental

    The blacks felt that whites were “oppressing them”……… I guess the same way a parent “oppresses” a naïve child who will destroy himself without guidance. I say let all the whites leave black Africa altogether and let it completely implode.

    • newscomments70

      Most of us want this, but the Obamas, Bushes, Angela Merkels, etc won’t allow that to happen. We MUST help them, and we need your money. They will not ask for your money, they will just take it…like a mugger in the alley.

  • Dr.Bazzi

    This Black dirt bag has been in power since April 1980 and he has the idiocy to state;
    The continent’s underdeveloped roads, railways and air and sea networks, he said, were hampering efforts to improve trade, investment and tourism. “We need to continue–and perhaps redouble–our current collective efforts in this sector.

    Black genius at work for 35 years.

    • John Smith

      And it’s been all downhill since then.

    • newscomments70

      Mugabe actually has six degrees from reputable universities in Rhodesia and South Africa. By African standards, he is a genius. He has been reading voraciously since he was a child. He is not illiterate and he may even have a relatively high IQ. Be that as it may, he doesn’t seem to comprehend simple economics,and his rule was a spectacular failure. For Africa, this is as good as it gets.

  • John Smith

    He’s the very embodiment of what the world should expect in an African leader.

    • newscomments70

      He isn’t all that much different than Obama and Holder. That may sound like a ridiculous statement, but when the western world propped Mugabe up as dictator, he was very much like Obama. He was smiling, friendly, charismatic…we must work together, I respect property rights, whites have nothing to worry about. But everything deteriorated. I see that same decay in the US. When Eric Holder refused to investigate the new black panthers, I saw it coming.

  • JTK

    Africa’s wealth belongs to Africa and not “imperialists and colonialists”… Unfortunately, not much wealth remained, today. Most of the crumbling infrastructure and industry was built during colonial times by “White imperialists”.

    • newscomments70

      What’s left of Africa’s wealth is being harvested by communist China. It is another form of colonialism. I would rather see white countries benefit. Furthermore, white colonists were more benevolent to their subjects than the exploitative Chinese.

      • IstvanIN

        The Chinese might have the more practical model of exploitation. The Europeans attempted to civilize the Africans, all for naught.

  • Epiminondas

    Who keeps this clown propped up?

  • Paul Franken

    Thinking Obama and Mugabe share the same ‘amish’ speech writer.

  • Alucard_the_last

    A better model is self-reliance not endless foreign aid. It is time for these ‘equals’ to build a first world nation after all, they are supposed to be the ones who build civilization, or at least in Al Sharpton’s opinion.

  • LexiconD1

    Because EBT doesn’t buy booze.

  • newscomments70

    I could see him paling around with Mugabe, like he does with Al Sharpton.

  • LHathaway

    Oh, blacks taking over the US and Brazil, as they have the Caribbean, should do a lot to increase tourism dollars in Africa. I’m sure they appreciate your concern, though.

  • benvad

    We’ve got to get those White Africans out of there. Pray for a pandemic to decimate their lands and destroy their very being.

  • benvad

    He sure does look like a gorilla, doesn’t he?

  • Sisu

    “The continents undeveloped road, railways, air and sea networks, he said, were hampering efforts to improve trade.” I beg to differ but the continents undevelopable population of Negros is what is hampering the continents prospects for property.

  • MBlanc46

    Mixed signals? Nothing mixed about them. Open Africa, and Mugabe is what you get.

  • Cid Campeador

    They love to play “Dress Up”. They are perpetual undisciplined children.

  • RationaliseThis

    Mugabe’s asinine land reforms involved creating subsistence farms operated by inexperienced “veterans” many of whose only claim was to committing genocidal crimes against other black tribes as well as Whites.

    Subsistence farms by definition don’t produce much surplus to build food and monetary reserves and this combined with incompetence and perpetual inexperience ensured the death by malnutrition of perhaps 600,000.

    It’s worth noting that Australia’s hopelessly inept and arrogant ex Prime minster Malcolm Fraser ushered Mugabe to power Despit Ian Smith begging for 10 years to prepare the country for democracy. Henry Kissinger, also on the eminent persons entourage that produced this disaster latter admitted to Ian Smith that he just should have said he’d go ahead with the handover and taken 10 years anyway. Kissinger at least had an understanding of reality.

    Fraser was so socially incompetent his only fiend at Cambridge was an Indian student. This apparently is the source of his anti racism. He of course gifted Australia with muslim Lebanese, a race and religion of in reds Thst have been a massive source of crime, rape and now terroris.