Under normal circumstances, this would be something to celebrate, given the importance of the organ which was set up in 2002 to enforce decisions made by heads of state and government.
AU leaders established the body after noting incessant conflicts in Africa. The PSC is mandated to promote peace, security and stability in order to guarantee the protection of life and property on the continent.
It is also supposed to anticipate and prevent conflicts and, in situations where conflicts already exist, the organ undertakes peace-making efforts to resolve them.
It also promotes and encourages democratic practices, good governance, the rule of law, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the sanctity of human life and humanitarian law.
These tasks make the PSC a very important instrument in the African Union’s quest to bring peace to a continent ravaged by war and dictatorship.
Given the importance of the body, it is therefore difficult to understand how Zimbabwe, a country that is notorious for violence, blatant disregard for the rule of law and election rigging can be asked to lead it. Is this any different from making a village criminal the local sheriff?
While the chairmanship of the organ is rotational, there is every reason for the AU to change the rules so that countries such as Zimbabwe cannot assume the chairmanship of this important body. Only this month Zimbabwean authorities celebrated the demise of the Sadc Tribunal thus advertising their contempt for the rule of law.
If Zimbabwe is allowed to chair the AU peace flag-bearer, nothing will stop Libya, still under the grip of Muammar Gaddafi who is shelling his own people in Misurata, from heading it one day.
The AU is aware of the problems in Zimbabwe and should be seen to be pressing for a solution rather than rewarding the country, which is already engulfed by conflict.
Only those countries that have pursued policies that promote peace should be at the forefront of peace-making initiatives. Who will take the AU seriously now?