World

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe takes over as African Union chairman

  • FILE - In this Friday, Dec, 12, 2014 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe sits after a swearing-in ceremony at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe. African leaders on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 appointed 90-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union, succeeding Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Dec, 12, 2014 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe sits after a swearing-in ceremony at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe. African leaders on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 appointed 90-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union, succeeding Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • African heads of state, joined by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, sixth from left in front row, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, third from right in front row, pose for a group photograph at the annual African Union (AU) summit held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. African leaders Friday appointed 90-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union, succeeding Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AP Photo/Elias Asmare)

    African heads of state, joined by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, sixth from left in front row, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, third from right in front row, pose for a group photograph at the annual African Union (AU) summit held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. African leaders Friday appointed 90-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union, succeeding Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AP Photo/Elias Asmare)  (The Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center-right, arrives for the heads of state meeting of the annual African Union (AU) summit, held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. African leaders Friday appointed 90-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union, succeeding Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AP Photo)

    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center-right, arrives for the heads of state meeting of the annual African Union (AU) summit, held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. African leaders Friday appointed 90-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union, succeeding Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

African leaders have appointed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as the new chairman of the 54-nation African Union.

The 90-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980, succeeds Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The announcement was made during the African Union's two-day heads of state summit at the organization's headquarters in Ethiopia's capital.

Traditionally, the chairmanship is given to the leader of the country hosting the next summit, but exceptions have been made like in 2005 when it was the turn of Sudan's Omar al-Bashir but African leaders bowed to outside pressures in the uproar over killings in Darfur. They passed over al-Bashir and instead kept Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo for a second year.