Hands off Mugabe, France told

Jerry Rawlings

Jerry Rawlings

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Former Ghana President Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings has rebuked France for questioning African Heads of State’s decision to elect President Mugabe as the African Union chairman.

France alongside other Anglo-Saxon countries tried — without success — to scupper President Mugabe’s ascension to the top post in January, issuing veiled threats on the basis that they accounted for over 60 percent of the AU budget.

After the humiliation, French President Francois Hollande reportedly sent a delegation to Francophone countries querying their decision to elect President Mugabe.

Analysts yesterday said this showed how contemptuous the West was about African decisions and leadership.

Speaking during a meeting with former Mozambique leader, Mr Joachim Chissano, Flt Lt Rawlings said he was shocked by Mr Hollande’s move.

He said: “And when they are told he (Mugabe) is a man we are proud of because he has a historical memory of where we come from, to remind us of what we should be doing and where we should be going then their names are mentioned by Hollande as African heads of questionable character.”

President Chissano was in Ghana at the invitation of the University of Development Studies (UDS) to deliver a series of lectures.

Flt Lt Rawlings said African leaders had been silent for too long on “painful issues” adding there was need for bold Statesmen to stand up against assimilation which countered African interests,

National University of Science and Technology dean of Communication and Information Science Dr Lawton Hikwa said African leaders had their reasons for electing President Mugabe and no one had the audacity to query that.

“This shows the kind of contempt the West has regarding to decisions by African leaders,” he said.

“If it was their decision why should anyone outside the continent question that? That will raise the ire of African leaders because it was a collective decision.”

Professor Charity Manyeruke said gone were the days when the French used to influence the thinking of some Africans.

“They are afraid that with President Mugabe’s vision to integrate African and his stance on national resources they will in the end have nothing,” she said.

“They want to continue holding on to our resources but the continent is now moving towards real independence by owning what is theirs.”

Said political analyst Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri from the Midlands State University: “This has to do with the French policy of assimilation and it shows the closer grip they have on some countries.

“This direct control is the reason why some national budgets of those Francophone countries are done in France. But the French should know that the world is moving forward and changing.”