The summit being held in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa will have the block’s first 90 year-old chairperson, casting doubts over the future direction of the A.U especially considering Mugabe’s bad rights record.
“It’s shocking and unfortunate because people of Africa should acknowledge that Mugabe is advanced in age and surely he should be resting. The Zimbabwean economy is failing and elections in his country remain a farce so expecting him to offer leadership at a regional level is expecting too much,” said political analyst Munjodzi Mutandiri.
He added that the problems that Africa is facing are beyond Mugabe’s capacity both physical and mental.
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“Africa is facing extreme poverty levels, hunger, threats from terrorists among others and that requires someone with a functional physical and mental faculty,” said Mutandiri.
“We know President Mugabe will use the platform to attack perceived enemy, I don’t think Africa will be better off with Mugabe who is well past retirement age.”
The theme of the summit is "Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063".
“The theme enjoins Africa to explore concrete ways to achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality in all spheres of life,” read a statement on South Africa’s presidency site.
“The Summit will consider the adoption of Agenda 2063, a fifty-year shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development on the African continent.”
According to the statement, South Africa has ensured that the National Development Plan includes the key proposals of Agenda 2063, with a strong focus on regional cooperation and integration.
“In his capacity as Chairperson of the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI), President Zuma will, on 29 January 2015, brief the 32nd Summit of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee on progress made in championing infrastructure development in the African continent,” added the statement.
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Zuma is set to later attend the African Peer Review Mechanism Summit and a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council on 29 January 2015.
The Summit is expected to inaugurate the Nelson Mandela plenary hall of the African Headquarters as bestowed to the late former President Nelson Mandela during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly held in Addis Ababa in January 2014.