Look on the website of the African Union and you could be mistaken in thinking that there's not a cloud in sight over Africa. Smug bloated men in Korean polyester suits, their faces fat and shiny as butter, pose for the standard corporate pictures in the style of an in-house newsletter for a processed food company. And like an in-house newsletter the AU's business seems to be the equivalent of congratulating Doreen in bought ledger for the new baby, or announcing that Andy in Sales will be speaking at the Packaged Desserts conference in Slough this year. You can search their entire website (which looks as though it was designed by a particularly unimaginative IT trainee in his lunch hour) in vain for a single mention of the turmoil in Zimbabwe.
There's also a body called 'The African Court on Human and People's Rights' - is this tautological or is there a distinction I can't see? - whose judges were appointed two years ago but which has yet to hear a single case as far as I'm aware. I suspect, as with the AU, it's more an opportunity for these chaps to dress up and have their corporate photos taken striking noble poses in the Lumumba Conference Suite in the Addis Holiday Inn than a real court. It is salutary to note that in its terms of reference the 'emoluments and allowances for the judges' are carefully defined but nowhere does it mention what 'rights' ordinary Africans actually have.
And so this morning there are rumblings that the UN should intervene militarily in Zim. Not us, obviously; the sight of British troops in Zim would shock the world's sensitivities far more than a pile of a thousand corpses. And I don't think we should, anyway. The whole of Matabeleland isn't worth the bones of a single Mancunian bombardier.
No. We must be ready to evacuate British passport holders and apart from that we must leave it to the AU, the UN and nations such as South Africa to sort out. And if the AU wants the world to take it any more seriously than a vanity shop it will bite the bullet and take the lead.