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Harare Keeps AU Special Rapporteur Waiting

As African Union leaders gathered in Libya today to frame a position on debt relief and economic relations with the more prosperous countries of the Group of Eight, the crisis in Zimbabwe though not on the agenda loomed on the margins of the summit.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the African Union itself appeared to be under strain as an AU special envoy cooled his heels for a fourth day in Harare without receiving the accreditation diplomatic protocal says he needs to investigate the ongoing crisis.

Tanzanian Bahame Tom Nyanduga is a member of the AU Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and and a special rapporteur for refugees, asylum seekers and the internally displaced. Mr. Nyanduga says the AU informed Harare of his mission before his arrival last Thursday, and he was to have completed his work by Monday.

Mr. Nyanduga told VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he can only wait in his hotel room until the Zimbabwean government gives him accreditation. But he added that he is also awaiting instructions from AU superiors as his scheduled time has run out.

The AU had said earlier it would not intervene in what it considered an internal matter, but under Western pressure partially reversed itself and dispatched Mr. Nyanduga.

Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya, who served as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United Nations until early this year, reporter Blessing Zulu that AU Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare, a former Malian president, had buckled under Western pressure.

For perspective on the awkward position in which the AU now finds itself, reporter Zulu also asked political analyst Ernest Mudzengi of the National Constitutional Assembly why the AU seems to be coming around on the Zimbabwe question.