We must get rid of despots

It's about time Africa got rid of despots such as Robert Mugabe.

It's about time Africa got rid of despots such as Robert Mugabe.

The socio-economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe has dominated the world media for a very long time. So many questions have been asked about why this crisis has continued for so long.

Trying to make sense of the situation, some commentators have even attributed the failure to resolve this crisis to a lack of leadership in Africa.

But others argue that the fact that the SADC nominated President Thabo Mbeki to mediate in Zimbabwe shows that Africa is in control of the situation.

Whether Mbeki's efforts will lead to any positive results we just have to wait and see. Structures such as the African Union (AU) and SADC have seriously failed the people of Zimbabwe.

Many African leaders who participated in the liberation struggle think they have a right to rule for life. If anyone challenges them he gets labelled a counter-revolutionary who wants to bring back colonialism.

As a result Africa ends up with high levels of poverty and disease because of leaders who believe that they are a sine qua non .

The AU should have stipulations that strictly limit heads of states to two terms. But instead of advancing such democratic principles we see the AU divided on how to deal with Mugabe.

The reason for this is "blind solidarity". They feel they should not act because they will be seen to be collaborating with the West.

It's time for principled and decisive leadership in Africa.

Mesh Hlongwane, Tshwane