Zimbabwe is reportedly trying to block former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo from observing the country’s July 31 election. Obasanjo, who was expected to arrive in Harare on Wednesday was said to have indefinitely postponed his arrival as the AU and the Zimbabwean government continue to discuss the matter.
Obasanjo is the African Union (AU) short-term observer mission leader. The former Nigerian leader is expected to lead a high-powered delegation to observe next week’s elections in Zimbabwe. But according to top AU officials, Zimbabwe’s government was reportedly throwing “spanners in the works”. President Robert Mugabe has stated that the former president is a known election manipulator and not needed in Zimbabwe.
According to Mugabe, The AU’ s choice of General Obasanjo as the head of the Commission’s Monitoring Delegation was not needed by Zimbabwean people.
Mugabe added that “Obasanjo is a known election manipulator whose democratic credential has always promoted left wing politics right from his days as the chairman of the Eminent Peoples Forum”.
The AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma yesterday hinted that Obasanjo would only be allowed into Harare if he was invited by the Zimbabwean government.
Addressing journalists on arrival at Harare International Airport, Dlamini-Zuma said Obasanjo would only come into the country if invited by the government.
“I think he will come, if he is allowed he will come. They (the government) allowed me to come. The government is obviously hosting us. There is no other meaning to what we have said,” she said.
Relations between President Robert Mugabe and Obasanjo chilled after Mugabe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations in 2002.
Responding to Mugabe’s criticism, Olusegun Obasanjo, brushed aside reports that he had been dropped from the African Union, AU, Observer Mission to Zimbabwe’s forthcoming general elections.
Speaking on telephone from China, where he is presently on a private mission, Obasanjo debunked the speculations, saying that he was headed for his assignment to Zimbabwe as head of the AU Observer Mission to monitor the July 31 elections.