Can Zimbabwe be pettier than this?

Can Zimbabwe be pettier than this? March 31, 2014 in NewsDay Editorial

President Robert Mugabe will not attend the European Union — Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium this week.

There are apparently two reasons that have guided Mugabe’s decision on this; one is personal, the other is based on pan-Africanist machismo.

The spin in the public media on why he is not attending has been sickening to say the least and has left the country with the label of pettiness that will stick for a long time to come.

At personal level he was riled by the EU’s refusal to grant his wife a visa to travel with him. The EU was insensitive in this, it can be argued. It is unfeeling for the EU to bar Grace Mugabe from accompanying her husband on such a long trip – long both in terms of distance and time.

In the past few years Mugabe has not undertaken a single trip abroad without his wife. On his numerous trips to the Far East where he seeks medical treatment she has always been by his side. This suggests she has become much more than just a spouse; she has become his personal nurse.

It is, therefore, unimaginable why the EU could fail to allow a 90-year-old man to travel with his wife who, in the circumstances, he needs in more ways than one — for spousal and medical support. It is obvious she has become his confidante as far has his health issues are concerned.

The second reason for his non-attendance of the summit is based on an abstraction namely that the EU has continued to play the big brother on Africa dictating the terms for inter-continental intercourse. In this instance, Mugabe and some in the African Union (AU) were miffed by the fact that the EU chose which African country or head of state or government should attend the summit, in exclusion of some which the AU have strong opinions about.

The African grouping had urged the EU to invite all African heads of state not on AU sanctions without exception. The AU also wanted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to attend despite him being on an International Criminal Court indictment.

The EU also barred Eritrea and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, full members of the AU, while inviting a non-member Morocco and Egypt which is on AU sanctions.

These are reasonable grounds for the AU protest and Zimbabwean government spin doctors ought to have clung to these in their lobby to stop the EU-Africa summit even when their real reason was much more private and should have remained confidential.

The spin doctors should have lobbied behind the scenes for Grace Mugabe’s inclusion — and there are sound reasons why she should have been included — while publicly selling the AU argument on the continental delegation. To make Grace the issue was to trivialise their argument and to make Zimbabwe such a petty nation.

It is heartening that the rest of the continent were not swayed by the Zimbabwe government and the summit will go ahead.


  • comment-avatar
    kagamba 8 years ago

    The summit must go ahead with or without mugabe yes we do understand mudhara needs the wife to travell with bcz of the age which zanu should hve addressed it in a professional maner than making all these long & noise stories . In the first place why did they appoint mugabe that role knowing his age you guys deserve this treatment from EU bcz of your african politics

  • comment-avatar
    apolitical 8 years ago

    Simply put we should applaud the integrity of the decision.
    We have an AU summit they decide who attend – any one with other ideas is an idiot.
    We have countries that AU have expelled or excluded they are excluded full stop.
    The issue of illegal sanctions is another stupid comment, sanctions have to be approved by the UN – these are not so they are illegal and again counties should act against this sort of thing – there are idiots that think its because of Human Rights and other propaganda.
    Propaganda ids n not evidence and no court has been presented with any case. Any person who claims human rights infringements in this situation should be locked up for murder – when they say its not fair there is no evidence, no court case just tell them its how you like it.

  • comment-avatar

    If we did not have a useless, tired, over the hill, has been 90 year old man for a president he would not need his wife to travel with him to prove nursing services between her trips to the shoe shops.

  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 8 years ago

    We have saved a lot of money by Mugabe and his hangers on not attending. Lets hope this is a start of him not attending everywhere except his office where he can try and do some work for a change

  • comment-avatar
    Reverend 8 years ago

    Wrong Headline dude….dont blame Zimbabwe…blame the frikkin president and his spendthrift wife, “the first shopper of Zimbungled”. Zimbabwe is a nation of people that did not make this petty decision, and once again our little pet infant throws all his expensive toys out of his cot…cos mummy cant go!! Snif!

  • comment-avatar
    harper 8 years ago

    The upside of all this is that there is one Brussels hotel that will not be trashed by the Zim delegation.

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 8 years ago

    EU probably all sat round a table discussing how they can get out of having a snoring old idiot at the meeting – and came up with this brilliant idea!!! Hey, it worked didn’t it?

  • comment-avatar
    Mapingu 8 years ago

    Hahaaaa, piti-coat-government yatonga Zimbabwe. Chokwadi ndecho kuti Grace ndiye vapresident. Mugabe aka retire kare and avakungogara akavata achiridza ngonono mangwanani kusvika rivire.

    Ndizvo chete zvaidayi zvakavudziwa vanhu veEU openly may be they could have known better on who to invite. They invite the wrong person. Full-stop. However, its not their problem its Gushungu’s problem becoz he plays hide-and-seek with Zimboz & the international community by refusing to openly acknowledge kuti mai ndovana matomu. Saka iye hapana zvinobatsira kuenda kwake kumeeting kana muridzi wenyaya asipo. Saka kugara kwake ndizvo chaizvo. Otherwise his going was going to the usual waste of scarce resource.

    Siyayi mudhara azvivatigwe zvaka uyo. KuEU kunodini. Akati ndiko kune hope dzinozipa kudarika dzemuState ndiyani?

    • comment-avatar

      What first lady. I didn’t know we had one! We haven’t had one since Sally