via Mugabe seethes as wife refused EU visa 25/03/2014 NewZimbabwe
THE EU has not invited Grace Mugabe to the fourth EU-Africa Summit in Belgium next week, in a development that appears to have angered President Robert Mugabe’s top aides.
Presidential spokesman, George Charamba, hinted that Zimbabwe would consider skipping the meeting over the First Lady’s exclusion.
Mugabe, who turned 90 this year and is reportedly suffering from failing health, normally travels with his wife on most trips abroad.
Hinting at how important she has become in his life, Mugabe described Grace as his “caretaker” while celebrating his 90th birthday at a grand party held in Marondera last month.
“I am 90 years not alone. I am 90 years with her. She has been the caretaker, the provider, the sustainer, the lover. So we don’t forget her when we celebrate,” said the veteran leader.
Mugabe’s remarks possibly explain Charamba’s outrage over the EU’s refusal to grant his wife a visa.
“What God has put together the EU is trying to separate. Do they expect the President to respect the EU and disrespect his own marriage?”
“I am aware there is a position of the AU regarding participation and that there are preparatory meetings between the EU and AU over African cases which have arisen over the problematic list of invitations.”
He added that the government would stand guided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the issue.
“We have invited those with a role to play in the meetings and the programmes of the meetings do not have any role for spouses,” he said.
“Since she is under restrictive measures the host country (Belgium) has to seek a green light from the EU for her to attend. The EU has to reach a consensus but in this case that has not happened.”
The EU lifted its sanctions against Zimbabwe this year but maintained its travel and other restrictions against Mugabe, his wife and the State-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries.