Africa backs #mugabe in EU summit boycott threat

via Africa backs Mugabe in EU summit boycott threat | SW Radio Africa  by Alex Bell on Thursday, March 27, 2014

The African Union (AU) has moved to back Robert Mugabe’s threat to boycott next week’s European Union (EU) Africa summit in Belgium, with the EU standing firm on its decision not to issue a travel visa to Grace Mugabe.

The 4th EU-Africa summit is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 2nd to 3rd April 2014 and aims to bring together African and EU leaders under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”. The last summit of its kind took place in 2010 in Libya.

But the summit remains in doubt with Mugabe leading calls for a boycott of the meeting. The 90 year old ZANU PF leader is understood to have been left fuming after his wife was not issued a travel visa to join him in Europe, despite Grace playing no role in the upcoming meeting. The pair both remain targeted with European restrictive measures, although the rules have already been bent to accommodate the presence of the ageing Zim President.

Mugabe has reportedly also been angered by the EU’s decision not to invite his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, who faces war crimes and genocide charges before the International Criminal Court. Also left off the invite list is the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, an AU member, with the African bloc accusing the EU of trying to undermine the AU’s authority and sovereignty.

The potential boycott has now also been echoed by an organ of the AU, which has recommended this week that the entire African bloc not attend the summit. Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, said a meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council held in Ethiopia Wednesday recommended that Africa boycotts the summit if the EU ‘insisted’ on determining the composition of country delegations.

“The African Union Peace and Security Council took a decision that the European Union was in violation of an AU resolution that they do not have the right to determine the composition of Africa’s delegation,” he told the Herald newspaper.

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the European bloc is waiting for a decision from the AU, which will determine the fate of next week’s summit. He explained that Mugabe’s wife was not invited simply because she had no role to play in the summit, and it was not a deliberate snub.

“It is a working summit where there is no programme for the spouses and the spouses are not invited. This was clearly laid out in the programme. When there was a request of issuing the visa to the First Lady, the host country had to follow the procedure for when an individual on the list of restrictive measure requires a visa. This means asking and receiving a unanimous decision from the EU members. This did not happen and the visa could not be issued,” Dell’Ariccia explained.

He added that the boycott threat by Mugabe has not been officially communicated to the EU, but they were aware of the recommendation made by the AU Peace and Security Council this week.

“There is an internal procedure that the African Union has to follow. There is a recommendation of the AU Council and so we will see how to proceed from there,” Dell’Ariccia said.

The Ambassador also dismissed the claims that EU was not respecting Africa’s ‘sovereignty’ as has been stated by the AU Peace and Security Council.

“It is in full contradiction of the spirit in which these summits have been established. At the Lisbon summit (in 2007), which was attended by Mugabe, we established a strategy which in turn established a partnership of equals,” the Ambassador said.

He added: “There is no reason to conclude that we are looking down on the continent and not respecting the spirit of the summit. The purpose is to create a momentum to ensure this partnership of equals bears all the fruits it can bear. So I don’t see why there would be an assessment of the situation in another way.”



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    Africa will be the looser not the EU you idiots

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    KIBBS 8 years ago

    Further proof that The AU is a nonentity!

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    Quite how this poverty and conflict plagued continent can find time and money to even discuss an issue as petty as a shopperholic called Disgrace is mind boggles the mind.

    To think that a continent of beggar nations believes should be treated as equals with European nations to whom they constantly take their begging bowls is laughable.

    One Robert Mugabe in particular suffers from delusions of grandeur. The nonagenarian cannot even feed his people and yet believes the world cares a hoot whether or not he will take his next nap in Brussels.

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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Who cares if the summit is canceled?

    There is some blather in the article above about African an European states being equal. This is delusional. The UK GDP is greater than the entire African continent. African leaders should concentrate on developing their countries.

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    Rwendo 8 years ago

    Storm in a teacup.

    Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace. Sounds like a great theme for the AU itself to convene a summit on, if they were worth their salt.

    Who remembers (or cares) what the theme of the 3rd summit was?

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    Mr Mugabe is deputy president of the AU, and will be the president of the AU in 2015, if he is still alive. It therefore seems likely that the AU will boycott the EU-Africa summit over the issue of a visa for Grace.

    Why would Africa be beholden to a man who is so deeply unpopular and is perceived as corrupt, illegitimate and violent in his own country? Why does Mugabe receive standing ovations at so many events, such as Nelson Mandela’s funeral?

    Mugabe’s support in Africa is predicated on the huge imbalance in wealth and resource use between the western nations and African nations. This, combined with the history of colonialism, is a real issue for many Africans. Why are Europeans so wealthy, while Africans are so poor? Everyone has their opinion, but this massive imbalance in wealth is a fact.

    Mugabe, ever a cunning intellect, has used the African dissatisfaction generated by this global imbalance, to position himself as the loud and crude and unflinching voice of that anger. It is his final constituency. He has economically ruined his own country to prove his credentials. And so he gets cheers and standing ovations across Africa, but none in his home Zimbabwe. There he has to rig elections.

    Africa would be well advised to find a less tainted individual to carry this message to the west. Mugabe is a hugely divisive figure and many of his utterances are considered as senile rants and completely disregarded in the west.

    If the final outcome is that the EU-Africa summit is cancelled over the issue of a visa for Grace Mugabe, then Africa needs ask itself whether Mr Mugabe is an appropriate person to be carrying the African message to the west.

    Of course, the EU may consider that the summit is more important than Grace Mugabe, and grant a visa. Mugabe will have his victory, but Africa’s victory will be pyrrhic indeed. Africa’s reputation for embracing corrupt, violent and unprincipled dictators will be set ever more firmly in western minds.

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    Africa and Zimbabwe are not about Robert and Grace Mugabe: they are about millions of people. No one needs them!

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    Rwendo 8 years ago

    As you have pointed out, the AU recently appointed Mugabe. Therein lies the rub. Most of the AU leaders are cut from the same cloth. Can we look to them to make the sensible decisions you propose.

    Like charity, the demand and achievement of good governance has to start at home; with us the governed. Not the AU club, or EU attempts at transplantation via summit.

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    Rwendo 8 years ago

    For ultimately, it is good governance by our own leaders that will bridge the gap between Africa and most of the other continents.
    How many such (somewhat patronising – however well meant) summits did China have with the before its spectacular growth

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    Rwendo, John Thomas and others who kiss ass western nation will care and end up their life if AU boycott the so called summit, i am telling you, you people if black man who was intended to be undermined is absent what will the EU discuss among-st the summit, can they hold summit without black people, what should they talk about the summit only the presence of the AU or black people can driven the summit, because there is nothing to eat in EU’s country only to beg or deceive the resource in Africa; now Africa is alert and unite.

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    Nyati 8 years ago

    It is shameful to rope in such a big agenda of two extreme continents; the visa of a wife of mugabe president of a sinking nation who wants to go shopping, Carry some diamonds in her bags and meet a boyfriend as the husband gonks in the meeting.
    Shame on Africa.

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    Nyati, there is no shame! it is what you did so far and there is no two continent the world is Africa, you call us slave and today you seek urgent humanitarian assistance otherwise your people in the snow will die starvation, you Nyati get out of here!!

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    roving ambassador. 8 years ago

    In the 80s ,a young man from Romania invited his parents to visit him in England. He was staying in a small settlement called Crawley. He took his parents to the saturday market. They were really surprised to see the amount of food on display.
    Back home ,they had been told the Britons were a starving nation. They went back to Romania thinking the whole thing had been stage managed for them.
    This is lesson number 1 for Umaari.

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    Jimbo 8 years ago

    What a farce. Poor Robert is furious that Grace cannot travel to Brussells to go shopping whilst he falls asleep at a meeting that he cannot possibly add any value. He sounds like a spoilt brat that does not get his way. Unfortunately the rest of the African leaders with a few exceptions ( Botswana ) are cut from the same cloth. How ironinic that Europe continues to provide aid to Zimbabwe yet is the subject of endless vitriolic attacks from Robert and his thugs. The lesson here is don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

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    roving ambassador, there is no lesson you provided here unless your motto is divide and slave, i am asking you, do you have resource means something to eat and technical elements that we can build everything in the world like earoplane, ships and other related items in your country; i am telling you even America is for black Africa as well as Brazil which is originated from Congo Brasaville, learn more and if you need further let me know otherwise get lost!

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    word writer 8 years ago

    The eu is trying to mend relations with africa because china is encroaching in on africa’s resources and forming stronger and stronger alliances with african states.

    Is the eu wooried about zimbabwe? no. But the problem is that the eu and the USA are conflicting over issues while china is not conflicting.

    I think that the eu is making a stand on a minor issue. Mugabe needs an aide he can trust- his wife. can he trust a nurse who relative may have been beaten up in 2008 or starved to death during a drought or persecuted because the relative was MDC?

    By preventing Grace from going the EU could plant seeds of antipathy with african states, instead of planting seeds of unity, joy, harmony.

    EU, you make not like Mugabe, you may not like Grace, but is it really worth it? History will tell all. In my opinion you should choose your battles and this is an issue you should rather not quibble about