A CLASH looms between government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change over the Zimbabwean crisis at the African Union (AU) summit which opens in Maputo today.
Government has said it will put pressure on the AU to draw up a resolution condemning the United States and other Western countries for attacking President Robert Mugabe’s regime over repression and leadership failure.
Mugabe last week held talks with his key AU ally Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ahead of the Maputo summit.
Gaddafi lashed out at Western countries during the inaugural AU summit in Durban last year. The AU evolved from the Organisation of African Unity.
To counter government attempts to hijack the AU summit, the MDC this week sent a delegation to Mozambique to seek support.
The MDC seeks to lobby African leaders to reject Mugabe’s claims that Zimbabwe’s problems are due to neo-colonial machinations.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said in an interview this week his party had resolved to engage African leaders on the Zimbabwe crisis to counter government propaganda and set the record straight.
“We will engage AU leaders and we know we have support within the organisation,” he said. “We have a right to be heard by AU leaders and this is what we will be doing. We have been in contact with regional leaders and some understand our case but others, of course, don’t.”
Mugabe would be hoping to drum up support in his bid to secure continental reaffirmation in the face of growing international isolation.
In February, Mugabe managed to convince the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Malaysia and later the Common Market for East and Southern Africa meeting in Sudan to issue solidarity messages supporting his regime.
He hopes to repeat the same showing in Maputo.