AU chair congratulates Mugabe on election victory June 30, 2008, 17:00 Miranda Strydom, Sharm El Sheik The world has watched and waited anxiously to see what would arise out of the African Union summit in Egypt. But those hoping for President Robert Mugabe to be rapped over the knuckles for his handling of the presidential run-off, were to be sorely disappointed. AU observers admitted that the elections fell short of their standards. However, amid the intense local and international pressure for tougher action against Mugabe, the AU did the unexpected, and extended its congratulations to President Thabo Mbeki for his mediation efforts there. The moment that some believe African leaders passed up was when they allowed Mugabe to take his seat among them with no rebuke. Those expecting a harder line on Mugabe and his one-man election were to suffer disappointment. Meanwhile, a group called the Elders - including Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan - has called for the AU to clearly state that the Zimbabwean elections were illegitimate. The Elders and the opposition MDC now also want the AU to appoint a special envoy to mediate an end to the Zimbabwean crisis. Kikwete applauds Mbeki on mediation efforts Instead, AU chairperson Jakaya Kikwete congratulated President Thabo Mbeki on his mediation, extended his congratulations to the Zimbabwean people, and asked the international community to work with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to bring about a political solution. Meanwhile, on the summit's sidelines, a SADC committee met behind closed doors to discuss the outcome of the run-off. But it appears some things are already clear. African countries do not appear to favour the tough sanctions that the West wants. Although west and east Africa may want to take a firm stand on Zimbabwe, southern African countries are divided. It is highly improbable the AU will agree to send its peacekeepers to Zimbabwe, as suggested by some. South Africa has publicly said Zanu-PF should begin talks with the Movement for Democratic Change with a view to forming a transitional government. South Africa takes over the SADC chairmanship next month. While some have called on Mbeki to step down as mediator, he will still be involved in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis as chair. Kama Kikwete anampongeza Mugabe kwa kuendesha ubabe ili arudi madarakani, ni dhahiri kuwa na yeye mwenyewe Kikwete ikifika zamu yake, hatashindwa kutembeza ubabe kusudi arudi madarakani kwa vile analiona hilo ni sahihi.