President John Kufuor of Ghana, Chair of the African Union (AU),
Ambushed in London
The African Union openly condemns the Mugabe regime – for the first time.
A small campaign group, Free-Zim Youth, has achieved what all the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), campaigning on Zimbabwe have been unable to do.
In what they are calling, the Africa Liberate Zimbabwe Campaign, the Radical Militant pressure group Free-Zim Youth ambushed President Kufuor as he gave a speech in London Chatham House on 14 March, 2007 to mark Ghana’s 50 years of independence.
Free-Zim Youth accused African leaders of betraying Black Zimbabweans.
Five minutes into his speech in which President Kufuor praised the AU’s role in uniting Africans, a young man stood up and raised his arms high in the air. Wearing handcuffs to symbolise the oppressed and repressed people of Zimbabwe under the Mugabe regime, Wellington Chibanguza challenged President Kufuor’s statement saying, “African Leaders have betrayed the aspirations of Black Africans, by perpetuating regimes that use pre-colonial legislation to oppress their own people, while claiming to right historic wrongs. Now comrade you are travelling around the world adopting neo-liberal policies and reforms, enjoying at an elite level while ordinary peasants are suffering”
“You have betrayed the dream and vision of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, that Ghana’s independence is meaningless unless Africa is totally liberated”
Security forces were called in to drag Chibanguza out of the event. The chair of the breakfast meeting apologised saying, “Let’s all wait for the question and answer time” and cracked a joke which made the audience laugh. This did not go down well with Free-Zim Youth. Kufuor continued with his speech and five minutes later another campaigner, Alois Mbawara. walked out in front of the audience brandishing a newspaper with a picture of a bandaged Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of one faction of the Movement for Deocratic Change (MDC). Holding the paper high in front of Kufuor, Alois challenged the AU leader saying. “Murikuseka, (you are laughing). This is the betrayal we are talking about. Zimbabwe is a burning issue, but the AU is failing to openly condemn the ruthless regime of Mugabe.”
“We young Africans feel that the AU has been hijacked by fake Left tyrants who talk left but walk right. Mugabe claims he is a revolutionary, but he is the one who brought all the neo-liberal policies to Zimbabwe. The AU should expel ZANU-PF from the bloc since it has betrayed the revolution”
“The same goes for SADC which is failing to exercise authority on a member state which violated all democratic protocols and principles. Shame on you, our leaders.”
Mbawara was also dragged out by the security forces as he shouted, “Power to the People”. By this time the audience was applauding in solidarity with the young campaigners.
A determined Kufuor continued with his speech, but five minutes later he was dramatically interrupted when a young woman stood up launch another challenge. Marceline Mutikori, shouted, “Women and Children are dying in Zimbabwe due to a member state that has violated the rule of law. Why has the AU not expelled or suspended Zimbabwe from the organization?.”
Mutikori was also kicked out by the security forces. As the audience waited for President Kufuor to respond hen another Free-Zim Youth member, Bridgette Maphosa stood up to pile the pressure on Kufuor saying, “Comrade President it is now time African leaders to practice what they preach. As young Africans, we are saying that to end poverty there must be good governance.”
Before she was escorted out by security, she called out, “We should not wait and watch the dreams of father Nkrumah betrayed. Solidarity with ordinary black Zimbabweans who are now in the hands of this oppressor!”
The dramatic events of the morning, wiped the smile off the face of the Ghanaian head of state. Under pressure Kufuor was forced to break ranks with the standard no-criticism-of-the-government- of-Zimbabwe line and openly condemn the Mugabe regime saying: AFRICAN leaders are embarrassed by the situation in Zimbabwe and perhaps could do more to help, but have met stiff resistance from Harare; but as The African Union we will do all we can to restore the rule of Law in Zimbabwe”