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Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, 90, Becomes African Union Chairman

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe gestures as he greets the crowd upon arrival on the last day of the Zanu PF  6th National Congress, in Harare, Sat, Dec. 6, 2014. Zimbabwe's vice president was a rebel commander known as "Spill Blood" during the war against white rulers and, at the age of 25, became the youngest Cabinet minister after independence. Now she is a political pariah, accused of plotting the downfall of President Robert Mugabe with the help of nocturnal sorcery. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe gestures as he greets the crowd upon arrival on the last day of the Zanu PF 6th National Congress, in Harare, Sat, Dec. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Edmund Blair, REUTERS

 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters)—Ninety-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, one of Africa’s most divisive figures, ascended to the rotating chairmanship of the African Union (AU) on Friday, casting a shadow over the continental body’s relations with the West.

The only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980 assumed the largely ceremonial role when he was handed the AU flag and gavel at a summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

In his acceptance speech, Africa’s oldest head of state spoke of the need to guard against foreigners exploiting the continent’s mineral wealth and called for more assistance for African farmers.

 

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