AFRICAN Union (AU) Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat has rubbished claims by former Zanu PF officials that a petition has been forwarded to the continental body detailing military excesses during the transition in November last year that brought down former President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
Interestingly, however, the AU is said to have received the document on February 5, 2018, with the body’s outgoing chairman and Guinea President Alpha Conde signing for it.
Bizarrely, an official from the AU Commission said to be Mahamat is said to have signed as receiving the petition on the same day as well, according to online documents, adding to the intrigue.
Mugabe’s nephew and ex-Cabinet minister, Patrick Zhuwao has claimed that a new political outfit known as the New Patriotic Front made up of leading figures of a defeated faction of the ruling party known as G40, had approached the AU to assist in resolving the political problems in Zimbabwe.
But Mahamat, who arrived in the country late yesterday, and met Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo said the issue of the petition was news to him.
“I am just learning from you now, I have not received any petition,” he said in response to questions from journalists.
The document, circulated to the media, was meant to coincide with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s maiden appearance at the AU summit last month, urged the body not to recognise the new administration born out of the November 15 military intervention.
“The New Patriotic Front writes to you to bring to your attention the extraordinary, unconstitutional, illegitimate and abnormal situation that exists in Zimbabwe today, as a direct result of the military coup that took place in the country on November 15, 2017,” the petition read.
The petition argued that Mugabe as President had not deployed the military on November 15 and, therefore, the actions of the army were illegal.
Mahamat added that his visit was in solidarity with Zimbabweans.
“I want to say that I am visiting Zimbabwe to show our solidarity with this great country of Africa. I have come with the commissioner in charge of political affairs.
“We will continue to discuss issues of concern to Zimbabwe and the African Union. I shall discuss with the President of the Republic (Mnangagwa) how the African Union can support Zimbabwe in this transition period and organisation of election,” he said.
The AU boss said he will meet Mnangagwa and was happy with how government has “opened up the political space” ahead of elections expected later this year.
“We also appreciate highly how the government and the President have opened up the political field so that there can be free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
“We will also work with the government to see how these sanctions can be removed.”
According to documents shared online, the chairperson of the Sadc organ on politics defence and security, Angolan President Joao Lourenco received the petition on February 2 this year.