Nigerian President Mussa Yar’Adua broke ranks with the principle of solidarity among African leaders Sunday when he leveled criticism at Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, saying his government had failed to respect the rule of law.
But Mr. Yar'Adua backed Mr. Mugabe’s right to attend the European Union-African Union Summit coming up in Lisbon, Portugal, in December.
Mr. Yar’Adua, winner earlier this year of an election he admitted was “not perfect,” told an international meeting in Wiesbaden, Germany, that “I want to emphasize that what is happening in Zimbabwe is not in conformity with the rule of law. I do not subscribe to this." He did not elaborate as to precisely how the rule of law was breached.
United Kingdom-based political commentator Innocent Sithole, formerly editor of the Harare Sunday Mirror, told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such remarks coming from Nigeria’s president were significant.