Over the din of a few groans from fellow African leaders and dignitaries, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi was selected as the new head of the 53-member African Union yesterday.
The AU presidency revolves regionally, and it was North Africa's turn. Either no one else from the region (Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria) wanted the job, or Qaddafi fiendishly told his fellow North Africans that the vote was scheduled to take place at the bar around the corner.
Either way, Qaddafi is now technically Africa's highest-ranking political figure.
The Colonel is anxious to get to work in his new role, promising to accelerate the formation of a "United States of Africa."
"I hope my term will be a time of serious work and not just words," Qaddafi said in his inaugural speech.
Though AU prez has no real power over the sovereignty of each of its individual members, he does play an important role in directing Africa's relations with the world's other political and economic blocs, and in resolving intra-African disputes.
Right now that means Qaddafi will play a role in resolving political unrest in Mauritania and Madagascar, to name two, and in fighting AIDS, poverty, corruption, economic exploitation... oh and that unresolved thingy in Darfur.
Is Muammar up to the challenge?