As his tenure as chairperson of the African Union (AU) comes to a close this week, state-run media in Zimbabwe have taken a reflective look at President Robert Mugabe’s term and praised him for leaving a “lasting impression”.
The state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper hailed the statesman, saying that he had introduced processes and implemented plans that helped steer the AU into its current form.
The sentiment came as Mugabe, 91, is set to handover the AU chair to Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno at the 26th Summit in Ethiopia later this week.
Critics, however, have viewed Mugabe’s leadership as catastrophic, with The Zimbabwean newspaper going as far as describing the veteran leader as the AU’s weakest leader in history.
Independent media in the country have also lambasted the nonagenarian, calling him out for allowing Zimbabwe to “burn” while “trashing democracy” and “ruining the economy”.
Mugabe has also faced harsh criticism from abroad, with a News24 report stating that he was confronted by journalists during the inauguration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in June of last year.
The journalists questioned him about his long stay in power.
“Don’t you think it’s time to step down sir?… When will there be change in Zimbabwe?,” they asked.
According to a Newsday report, Mugabe was also excluded from an AU meeting in July 2015 after he was snubbed by US President Barack Obama.
Mugabe will attend his last meeting as chairperson of the AU on January 30 and 31 in Ethiopia.