EU ambassador criticized for comments on Zimbabwe

By | June 18, 2014

via EU ambassador criticized for comments on Zimbabwe | SW Radio Africa. 18 June 2014   by Mthulisi Mathuthu

The EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, has provoked anger by his statements that there is no leadership crisis in the country and that civil society should be less confrontational when dealing with government.

Dell’Ariccia made these comments on Tuesday during a conference organized by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. The EU envoy said: ‘If we had a leadership crisis there would be chaos. We still have a leader who manages to keep at bay under control these forces that are very much contradictory.’ The ambassador also accused civil society of being ‘anchored in the past,’ saying: “The civil society has a role to play but I have the impression that you are a little bit anchored to the past where instead of seeing NGOs one perceives AGOs, Anti-Government Organisations.”

But activists and commentators reacted strongly to the EU envoy’s comments, saying he has got the wrong end of the stick.

Zimbabwe Social Democrats Secretary General Wilbert Mukori said that Dell’Ariccia’s comments were ‘tragic’ because there is a ‘serious’ leadership crisis in Zimbabwe. He added: ‘What more chaos do you want when a government cannot pay civil servants and when basic services like water and electricity are not being provided; when 90 percent of the people are not employed what do you call that?’

Mukori said Mugabe has been able to maintain a ‘semblance of order’ through a combination of cunning methods of control and repression. He said Mugabe uses the so-called black empowerment policies to reward his cronies in exchange for loyalty while he uses the state machinery to crush dissent. Mukori added that Dell’Ariccia should not wait for bloodshed for him to accept that there was chaos already.

Policy analyst Charles Mangongera, who was present at the Tuesday conference, said the EU diplomat was wrong in saying civil society was anti-government. He said the NGOs were right in identifying the government with the Zimbabwean Crisis and it was ‘well within their mandate to do so.’ He said: ‘Sometimes people want to be hard on the civil society but the NGOs are the pulse of the community and they know what the issues are. Sometimes as ambassadors and as analysts we tend to speak from the comfort of air conditioned hotels without understanding the situation.’

Mangongera added: ‘To castigate the civil society and say they shouldn’t do this or that I don’t think that is the responsibility of an ambassador; that’s for the Zimbabweans to decide for themselves.’ Mangongera said Mugabe’s poor leadership was also evident in his failure to keep his ZANU PF party united and in failing to groom a successor, to the extent that he is still at the helm at the age of 90 years of age.

Dell’Ariccia’s comments came at a time when the EU is in the process of ‘re-engaging’ with Harare after more than a decade of a frosty relationship due to ZANU PF’s state terrorism which has claimed thousands of lives and left many opposition figures both homeless and disfigured.

This week the MDC-T’s EU press officer, Makusha Magube, told a TV discussion that nothing has changed in Zimbabwe.

Activists feel that the EU is erring in re-engaging the ZANU PF government which is evidently in a celebratory mood, pushing the impression that it was the victor in what it says was a war between itself and Brussels.

24 thoughts on “EU ambassador criticized for comments on Zimbabwe

    1. Mangoma

      Dell please i have found you 4 rooms a cottage rather to come and stay in Budiriro NO POWER/NO WATER/ NO TRANSPORT/ NO SEWAGE RETICULATION at least you can use the flush bucket system then you will see the crisis in practise you are welcome in Budiriro or HOPLEY plenty rooms to let for you,

  1. Old Man River

    Don’t worry about it. Italy has always had it’s own somewhat eccentric views on what constitutes good leadership.

    1. Wilbert Mukori

      @ Old man river

      “Italy has always had it’s own somewhat eccentric views on what constitutes good leadership,” you said. Well Mugabe and his cronies sure have their own eccentric views of what constitute free and fair elections, good governance, free media, etc., etc. And Zimbabweans have paid dearly for it all. The last thing we want is someone rubbing our noses into it all by telling us that this is normal and we should accept it!

  2. Frankie Laine

    Unfortunately the likes of the esteemed ambasador and his handlers have the political weight to make a difference in places like Zimbabwe, good or bad, mostly bad.It has really boggled my brain that we have people such as him living in the same world as us. They cannot or maybe better still, will not see the situation as it really is. This would be not so bad if they have no influence to change ordinary people’s lives.These people cause untold suffering by their distorted viewpoint. It just shows how desperate the EU is to get some wealth into their hands that they are now prepared to sup with those they so recently berated. Then again, maybe they have been doing this for some time now as Wikileaks has shown and now that Tsvangarai has no more influence to effect change, they have decided to openly back the victor. Lets face it, rightly or wronly ZANUPF has time and again totally outwitted the MDC. What is such a shame and heartbreak about the MDC is that so many have suffered terribly and even died for the cause and to no avail.

  3. Kabunga

    Crisis ? What crisis – he has a chauffeur, Zesa 24 hrs, water, best medical care, a one way ticket out, food and the finest champagne – all at a click of a finger. One could not ask for more. Come see the real Zimbabwe Mr EU Ambassador. Come see the intimidation, the hunger, the sick, the thieving, the homeless, the sewage in the water we drink, the lack of medication in our hospitals, the lack of farming taking place, the unemployment, the amount of businesses closing, the lack of money. The list is endless.

    Then go back to your comfortable arm chair while you sip your red wine in front of your homely fire and take a long hard think about what you say and how it affects the citizens of Zimbabwe!!!

  4. Mukanya

    He is of Italian origin, hence Italian eccentricism is expected

  5. biend

    He obviuosily doesnt speak for the depressed,suppresed,displaced,discouraged and the hungry masses of Zimbabwe.These unfortunate statements coming from people of influence are death warrant to the millions,suffering and hungry,they are insensitive to say the least

  6. Petal

    when refering to Aldo being part of the Mafia mean does he belong to the Sicilian Mafia and because he is here he decided to join the local mafia?
    someone should get him to speak to ordinary people

  7. Doctor do little

    Zimbabweans need to understand that even the Western countries which we have to consider as the lesser evil will in a situation like this eventually sup with the devil, that is if the Devil cannot be removed. The only ones we have to trust is ourselves as only we can free ourselves. You cannot even trust the other African countries as we all know by now. They all want a piece of the carcase. The only difference is the western countries will let you also have a bit. Whilst this man is talking all this nonsense do we hear any other EU countries saying anything? No, they are all backing this stance so as to try and reposition themselves to try to get what they lost to China. If ever there is a solution it will come from Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans of all colours must not lose hope. God is there for us all as we see this dictator and his regime start to crumble. Will this EU clown be able to curb the in fighting within Zanu? No. Is there a leadership crisis within Zanu? Yes. Only a blind man cannot see it,but he hears it. Only a deaf and blind man will not see or hear it so,he EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia is both deaf and blind.

  8. Petal

    50,000 children denied HIV drugs | The Chronicle
    can someone take Aldo to some of these children or take the children to Aldo’s office to see for himself he should not just be sitting in his cushy office – pull him by the ear

  9. Petal

    just read the above on this site 50 000 children denied HIV drugs/The Chronicle it would be interesting to know the total number in the country facing the same situation and Aldo is saying everything is alright?

  10. Petal

    Italy – Sylvio Berlusconni (Former Prime Minister)- doing community work at an eldely care home for corruption charges ? no wonder

  11. Madlinduna

    The EU ambassador’s nomenclature of the situation in our country leaves a lot to be desired.Can it be that,they have lost faith on our oppositions effecting change and have thus resigned to the fact of working with the last man standing.Is it that,they have concluded on our freak of fear that we will never arise against oppression,instead we choose fright or submission.Or it is this new constellation mindset of the world that categorises any crisis by stains of blood on the streets.What can it be actually,slice of the cake,long cherished and now so close to be swept away by China?

  12. Panda moyo

    I sincerely hope that no one has promised him some diamond share becoz he should know by now that the people he is sucking up to do not keep promises and they change statements like the weather.or perhaps they v already given hm smething?he sound highly motivated

  13. Saddened

    We still have a leader who manages to keep at bay under control these forces that are very much contradictory.’ Just a bit surprised no one asked him who or what the contradictory forces are. Maybe those present were taken completely by surprise by his remarks. Truth be told what would an Italian know about good leadership given their record over the last 50 years?

  14. Petal

    European Parliament
    Bât. Altiero Spinelli
    60 rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
    B-1047 – Bruxelles/Brussels
    Phone: +32(0)2 28 42111
    Fax: +32(0)2 28 46974


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