#mugabe and Zimbabwe boycott EU summit over exclusion of wife Grace

via Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe boycott EU summit over exclusion of wife Grace – Telegraph By Peta Thornycroft 30 Mar 2014

Harare out in the cold, with its businessmen saying high-level meeting in Brussels would have offered struggling economy a boost

Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, is to boycott an EU Africa summit in Brussels because his wife Grace was denied a visa to enter Europe.

The EU has relaxed a travel ban on Mr Mugabe so he can attend, but has refused to do the same for his wife Grace, nicknamed The First Shopper at home for the numerous, lavish European shopping sprees she used to enjoy before being made the subject of sanctions.

Mr Mugabe has ordered the entire delegation from his country to stay at home for a two-day meeting which has been described by Aldo Dell’Ariccia, the EU’s ambassador in Harare, as “the highest level of political dialogue between the two continents”.

The summit will bring together representatives of 90 nations from both continents, including 65 heads of state and government.

Financial and travel restrictions were imposed on Mr Mugabe and most of his close political colleagues in 2002. As the West has sought to re-engage with Zimbabwe, most have been lifted so that only the 90-year-old head of state and his wife remain on the EU list.

The EU has pumped £20 billion into Africa in the last five years, mostly for development projects.

It first invited Zimbabwe to the summit and later sent Mr Mugabe an invitation.

“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,” Mr Dell”Ariccia said. “There is no programme for spouses at the summit.”

He said the EU was asked to grant Mrs Mugabe a visa. “The EU has to reach a consensus but in this case that has not happened,” he added.

Joey Bimha, the Zimbabwe foreign spokesman, said: “The European Union did not implement what was agreed on at the AU summit in Addis Ababa in January. The continent has agreed that it is not the duty of the EU to choose the delegation of the member states.”

At the weekend the EU said that more than 40 heads of state from Africa had accepted invitations to attend, and 22 from the EU.

Zimbabwe is now trying to pressure other African states to boycott or delay the summit.

The southern African country is in debt and several domestic banks cannot meet depositors’ demands, while the government is struggling to pay civil servants’ salaries.

Many Zimbabwe businessmen were interested in the EU’s theme for this summit: “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace” and in the potential benefits offered.

A veteran businessman from Harare, who asked not to be named, said Mr Mugabe’s boycott was not in the interests of the country’s fragile economy.

“It is madness for the government to boycott. Relations with the EU are improving and this summit would, for sure, have brought some EU funds into the economy, particularly agriculture,” he said.

Despite Western restrictions against Mr Mugabe, he attended previous EU summits in Cairo (2000), Lisbon (2007) and Tripoli (2010).

Mrs Mugabe usually travels with her husband each year to New York for the UN General Assembly, and to the Vatican, as Mr Mugabe is an occasional Catholic. She seldom travels with him to African countries because, critics say, shopping there is not so good.



  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 10 years ago

    Everybody will be happy without Mugabe there

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    James Foley 10 years ago

    At last the truth is there for all to see who is ruling the country. Because Grace was not granted a visa, she refused to give Robert permission to attend the meeting

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    supermondo 10 years ago

    so much childishness from so called grown ups in Africa,,no wonder people starve.

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    Spoilt, immature, self centred, arrogant is the Zimbabwean President. Putting his selfish. self serving interests before those of the people of Zimbabwe, whom he is supposed to serve.

    Now you know why Zimbabwe is in the mess that it is.

    Just sickening!

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    Doris 10 years ago

    Imelda Marcos in disguise!!! This is great news – it has also proved to the outside world how easy it is to make Bob stay at home!! More of this please.

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    Madlanduna 10 years ago

    Yes you can not rule every body ,only in Zim née!

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    When you have “won” an election, whose outcome you can always predict, you cannot feel as though you are accountable. Winning a fair election is a reminder of what it takes to win the people’s confidence. In the absence of that feeling, you find that one person can try to dictate what the whole continent should do in response; one step closer to total collapse. The nation is bereft of direction, of leadership and of hope.

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    UMAARI 10 years ago

    John Thomas, who is glad, they are very gloomy the absence of Mugabe, what they would discuss was how to steal the resourceful elements in Africa in particular Zimbabwe, can you let me what Africans would get from the EU countries, dry, ice, snow and cold which is health less condition, in Africa we have technician, resourceful items, food and all required spirit, what do you have in your countries!! We don’t care the summit, what do u mind?

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      Parangeta 10 years ago

      You’re an idiotic, boot-licking, azz-smelling ZPF goon!
      Go back to your thieving bosses, and tell them we don’t care!

      Your ZPF is finished, so is that old Simian fool, Mugarbage,
      living “illegally” in our Beloved State House.

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    Oh shame. He can’t be in the limelight. ZPF are allowing this whole nation to go backwards. What are they doing. Is there no one in there with a shred of gumption that will tell the old man to step down and begin to engage the entire nation. Pride before a fall. What is ZPF doing. It is as though they are just waiting for him to pop off whilst the whole nation burns. Shame on you! and you call yourselves leaders!

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    jobolinko 10 years ago

    What s so special about a wife if you are going to attend a confrence that will help the country ,it all shows why zanu is not bothered about zimbabweans now south africa wants to kick zimbabweans out, they just quiet like zombies.

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    Tawanda 10 years ago

    The EU outplayed Mugabe. They don’t need him at the summit because they know he will do anything to polarise the West and Zimbabwe through the predictable grandstanding. Mugabe is too ill to make the calculations now and he took the bait. EU 1, Zimbabwe 0. Next.

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    machakachaka 10 years ago

    Stay home Bob, there is nothing for Africans there.

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    Chakudunga Chitambara 10 years ago

    UMMARI, you definitely need a long overdue mental checkup. The EU has money which can wisely be used to revamp Zimbabwean education, health and agriculture, as well as upgrade roads and railways. For decades China (the chief target of Mugabe’s Look East Policy)was a closed socialist economy. In 1979, Deng Xiao Ping, who was then the leader, decided to open the country to Western investment and the Chinese economy began to flourish, which is why, today, China has the money to invest in Zimbabwe and other African countries, as well as in Latin America and Asia.

    Zimbabweans need jobs so that they can feed their families and the thousands of mentally handicapped UMAARIS, send their children to school and live honest, decent lives – not the massive thieving and plunder perpetrated by ZANU PF biggy bellies.

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    UMAARI 10 years ago

    Tawanda, that is your day dream but it never happens, get lost!