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On Africa Day, Harare's Critics Urge Stronger AU Action on Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe joined the rest of Africa Friday in commemorating the 44th anniversary of Africa Day this year on the theme of "Let's Strengthen Africa's Place In the World Through Strategic, Balanced and Responsible Partnership."

African Union Chairman and Ghanaian President John Kufuor led ceremonies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He officially launched an African Union diplomatic passport and laid the foundation stone for the organization's new conference complex.

But Kenya's East African Standard newspaper chided the AU for failing to speak out on issues including the policies of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

The East African Standard editorial noted Mr. Mugabe's election by African leaders as vice chairman of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa, or COMESA though he "presides over the world’s fastest crumbling economy and cheers when police bludgeon his opponents into silence."

National Coordinator Farai Maguwu of Zimbabwe's Civic Alliance for Democracy and Governance told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the AU has not lived up to the Africa Day theme where Zimbabwe is concerned.

Elsewhere, Movement for Democratic Change faction leader Arthur Mutambara said in an Africa Day address that the continent's leaders have not lived up to the mandate of the Organization of African Unity, the AU's forerunner founded in 1963, which pledged to seek joint African solutions to the challenges facing the continent.

"The demise of Zimbabwe symbolizes the failure of African institutions and leadership,” Mutambara declared.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...