Robert Mugabe brazenly and brutally stole his latest re-election as president of Zimbabwe. Now Africa’s leaders, who have looked the other way, must decide what they will do. They can continue to enable Mugabe out of political cynicism or misplaced solidarity with a former liberation leader turned tyrant. Or they can follow the wiser example of the living symbol of African liberation, Nelson Mandela, who last week condemned Zimbabwe’s “tragic failure of leadership.”

The signals from Monday’s opening session of the African Union summit, with Mugabe smugly in attendance, were not encouraging. While African election monitors rightly denounced the voting, few summit speakers went beyond muted criticism while Zimbabwe and its people are dying at Mugabe’s hand.

President Bush has extended unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwean officials. The US is pressing the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and sanctions on Mugabe’s cronies. Unfortunately, Russia, China and South Africa seem determined to block such moves. That is yet another reason Africa’s other leaders must take the lead. They must speak the truth about Mugabe and all the horrors he has visited on Zimbabwe, back their words with sanctions and call on the Security Council to do the same.