President Sirleaf On Zimbabwe Elections - Urges African Union to Declare Election results

Monday, 8th July 0002
Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on the African Union to pronounce the June 27th elections in Zimbabwe as not credible and declare the results unacceptable, if the Union is to maintain its credibility.

The President spoke today during the 13th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, when she made her intervention to colleagues during a closed session. She said the international community should work with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to find a permanent solution to the situation in Zimbabwe. She put forward Liberia as a case in point, saying the 1985 election was endorsed by Africa and the world, which frustrated the true will of the people of Liberia and subsequently engendered a fourteen year civil war that left over two hundred thousand persons dead. The Liberian leader called on the African Union to be courageous to say that ‘all is not well in Zimbabwe’ and that the request by SADC for a postponement of the June 27 Zimbabwean elections should be heeded.

The President reminded Summit participants that the African Union Observer Mission declared the June 27th elections fell short of the accepted AU standards, and that this was a similar position taken by the Pan African Parliament and the United Nations Security Council. She urged Summit participants to take a firm stance as well: ‘All these persons and institutions cannot be wrong, cannot be conspiratorial as we may be made to believe,’ she stressed. President Johnson Sirleaf also emphasized that the call for a peacekeeping mission in Zimbabwe is not realistic, adding that it may be necessary for SADC, in concert with the African Union Peace and Security Council, to put in place some civilian peace monitors who might constitute an early warning system in order to monitor and prevent further escalation of the crisis. She finally called on the AU be consistent with the standards it promotes.

The 13th AU Summit ended with its Chairman and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete giving a summary of what the leaders had achieved during their two-day deliberations. President Kikwete said the leaders of Africa had shown what he referred to as ‘the cause of Africa.’ He said they had discussed the pivotal issue of water and sanitation and agreed on how best to proceed as well as manage scarce resources and scale up consumption in the water sector.

He further revealed that the leaders had discussed the global food crisis and have received commitments from multilateral organizations on ways in which they can assist in alleviating the crisis. The AU Chairman added that the Union discussed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and launched a landmark consensus report on how to achieve the benchmarks in Africa. He said the report states that Africa is now only half way in achieving the MDGs by 2015.

President Kikwete also revealed that the leaders had a lengthy discussion on the way forward towards a Union Government of Africa, adding that an implementation of the process should commence by the next Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2009. He said the Union looked at its conflict areas on the continent and commended the AU for its work in restoring peace in Kenya. President Kikwete also said the leaders had discussed what he referred to as ‘a way forward on Zimbabwe’ as well as the progress made in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The AU Chairman then characterized the Sharm El-Sheikh gathering as a landmark Summit and declared its adjournment.

President Johnson Sirleaf has left Egypt at the end of the AU Summit for the United States for a private visit. She is scheduled to return to Liberia next week.