#mugabe damages national interest

via Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Muleya April 4, 2014  Zimbabwe Independent

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s flawed decision to boycott this week’s EU-Africa summit in Brussels, Belgium, should rank as one of the most costly diplomatic bungles, detrimental to Zimbabwe’s national interest, in recent years.

Although the national interest is notoriously difficult to decipher, in this case its clear Mugabe’s move badly damaged Zimbabwe’s diplomatic and economic interests.

Despite being a non-event his boycott — which has triggered clashes between Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and his deputy Chris Mutsvangwa — over some ill-defined issues on Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, Morocco and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, was rather ill-advised.

Zimbabwe had more to lose by not attending the summit, citing African Union (AU) leaders’ nebulous resolutions.

While there might have been a case to be made, Mugabe ought to have been pragmatic. For it was clear, the rest of African leaders would not allow themselves to be held to ransom by him, especially because of a trivial squabble about his wife Grace’s travel visa.

Instead of allowing ideological and personal issues to cloud their thinking, Mugabe and his officials should have been guided by the national interest — the need to end the country’s international isolation and to seize economic opportunities at the summit.

Instead of sulking and staying away, many African leaders attended to promote their countries as good investment and safe tourist destinations, while Mugabe and his authorities, who in this case imposed sanctions on themselves, wallowed in self-pity and self-delusion.

As Mutsvangwa said, the visa quarrel was petty and unnecessary. It exposed Mumbengegwi and his permanent secretary Joey Bimha’s misguided foreign policy approach, while damaging Mugabe’s reputation big time.

Seeking comfort in South African President Jacob Zuma’s remarks and absence was unhelpful because he did not go for different reasons, and in any case, South Africa has its own arrangement with the EU. Harare’s position was untenable; it was based on self-serving misrepresentations, lies and personal considerations.

Egypt was invited to Brussels despite being suspended from the AU because it is critical to the EU on security matters. Eritrea was, in fact, invited.

Sudan was also invited although the EU warned its President Omar al-Bashir would be arrested if he set foot on Brussels since he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Morocco, not an AU member anymore, has always been invited ever since the summits started in 2000. Sahrawi was not invited even if it’s an AU affiliate because it’s not recognised as a sovereign country internationally; it’s not a UN member.

Besides, the summit was between the EU and Africa, not necessarily the AU.

Grace was not given a visa because she remains on targeted EU travel bans.
Above and beyond this, all spouses were not invited.
Under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”, participants to the summit discussed peace, security, investment, climate change and migration. Previous summits took place in Cairo (2000), Lisbon (2007) and Tripoli (2010).

As is well-known, figures don’t lie, people do: trade between the EU and Africa has been booming. Statistics in our story on Page 3 prove this.

Trade between Zimbabwe and EU, for instance, doubled between 2009 and 2012, reaching US$800 million, with the terms of trade being US$200 million in Harare’s favour.

Zimbabwe’s boycott was thus naïve and misguided, especially considering relations between Brussels and Harare were now getting on a normal footing.

The EU has already indicated it is likely to lift in November Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement under which sanctions were imposed on Mugabe and his cronies in 2002.

Attended by over 40 African and 20 European leaders, the summit was a boon for serious countries, but Zimbabwe lost out because of Mugabe’s futile ego trip and sideshow.



  • comment-avatar
    apolitical 9 years ago

    @Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Muleya
    Unfortunate that muleya fails to comprehend the serious human rights infringement.
    You cannot say that because we felt we may have a case against aMugabe we are placing his wife under illegal sanctions.
    Again you cannot say you can come to a AU meeting that is not under our jusrisdiction but cant bring your wife as she is a family member. He could bring a girlfriend whoch illustrates the serious lack of common sense.
    Year have passed since families were blamed for the alledged crime of their husbands /fathers, we over centuries became civilized – we don’t a arrest a persons wife because we suspect the husband committed a crime and more we became educated and realize it was wrong and affected womans hiuman rights.
    Sadly, there are those like the journalist who need to work out right and wrong again and maybe research and get educated.
    Women have rights as do all and you cannot shourt human rights but I don’t like this guy so his wife doesn’t have any rights its clearly uncivilized and is an ovbvious human rights casse ahainst the EU,individual complaints have already been made on behalf of the right thinking Zimbabweans who are against human rights abuse to the EU human rights already.
    Although frankly I feel it just in the circumstances, would you agree that all local EU delegates wives should be returned to the EU as they are unnecessary to the delegates work in Zimbabwe in protest. If you are doubtful, you begin to understand, it is not a political problem it is a womans rights/ human rights problem and have begun to think as a civilised human being.

    • comment-avatar
      John Thomas 9 years ago

      Apolitical you perform a very valuable service. Any time a person may forget the primitive brutality and stupidity of ZANU you remind them. Everything you say, everything you are and everything you believe is rejected.

    • comment-avatar
      Chidumbu 9 years ago

      @APO Stop moaning and just admit that you and your kind are just failures, you inherited the Jewel of Africa and reduced it to a begging bowl state, no amount of diversionary tactics will help you, you are all idiots

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      Zombi 9 years ago

      Some people’s stupidity is cancerous. so you think disgrace is on the EU’s sanctions lists because she is merely bob’s wife? Well, then the EU might as well add Bona, the pilot, Chatunga and the rest of those unfortunate kids (inherera.. hadzina baba na mai)

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      Jono Austin 9 years ago

      ‘Years have passed since families were blamed for the alledged crime of their husbands /fathers, we over centuries became civilized’-so what do you have to say about whites being kicked off their farms and made second class citizens and aren’t allowed to participate in large sectors of the economy

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      Parangeta 9 years ago

      Give it a break stupid,
      you’ve been beating this dead horse for a week!

      dis-Grace supports her filthy simian husband’s
      anti-humanitarian policies, so sanctions for her too!

      The greedy b–itch just wants more Gucci’s, stay home
      woman, we can’t afford to pay for your ticket and room!

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    John Thomas 9 years ago

    This meeting in Europe and Mugabe’s absence from it is the very infinitesimally small part of the damage this monster has done to Zimbabwe. This experienced journalist is, very typically, not good at his job. Trying to create hype all in the wrong direction. The big story is about pressuring the unwanted leader to leave office.

    • comment-avatar
      Parangeta 9 years ago

      Thisn article is not about creating ‘hype’.

      The writer is just bringing home the point
      that M’Garbage has once again ruined our
      chances at getting in the fray. Lost opportunities!

      He isn’t comparing this stupid M’Garbage move of the
      Chief Simian, to his other misdeeds. They stand on their
      own demerits for sure.

      M’Garbage, dis-Grace, Bona non Fide and Robber Jnr,
      just all need to pack up and go to Singapore, Hong Kong
      or Dubai, and leave Zimbabwe alone!

      Then the ICC can get M’Garbage there!

  • comment-avatar
    MikeH 9 years ago


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    Ha Ha Ha Ha ki ki ki Apolo you r a clown u make me laugh please continue Ha Ha Ha Ha ki ki ki

  • comment-avatar
    Zombi 9 years ago

    Even if mugabe had gone. What would come of it. He’d have slept through the proceedings anyway. Only waking up to fight a couple of ghosts and throw some anti EU slur.

  • comment-avatar
    Antonio delgado 9 years ago

    He’s displaying the fact that he’s an arrogant stupid old fart….

  • comment-avatar
    Thembani 9 years ago

    Are you serious?You are a Joke

  • comment-avatar
    mucha 9 years ago

    So Dumisani Mleya acknowledges that Zimbabwe, as a country, is under international isolation? But we always hear from same people that it’s only Mugabe and his cronies that are under restrictive measures and the ordinary person is not suffering from the sanctions.

    Secondly, it is foolish to say that the summit was between the EU and Africa, not necessarily the AU. Dumisani is only parroting the Zimbabwe-EU Ambassador’s words. African people don’t realise that Europe does not recognise the AU because it is this Organisation that fought European colonialism out of Africa. It is an enemy to Europe’s greedy ambitions in Africa.Remember, the EU is a grouping of the same countries that met in Berlin in 1884 to divide Africa and shared it amongst themselves.

    Europe is coming as UNITED Union and they want to meet a DIVIDED Africa, with no representation. Which Africa do they want to meet which is not part of the AU? Does it mean they can meet one African country and still call it an EU-Africa summit?

    Africa Arise.

    • comment-avatar
      Parangeta 9 years ago

      Your comments are disjointed and confusing.
      The meeting was designed for ALL OF AFRICA,
      not just the Member States.

      Even the ‘Suspended States’ and Morocco
      were included, unless they were booted out
      for anti- Humanitarian treasons, Sudan, and
      like Zimbabwe should have been!

      Anyway, it’s history now, M’Garbage dropped the ball,
      the old fart!

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      Mucha, the rest of the continent, fortunately for their respective countries did not share Mugabe’s myopic views.

      So, Zimbabwe is isolated because that is Mugabe’s choice. It was idiotic of him to miss an opportunity to build trade links because Grace did not get a visa.

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    Brian 9 years ago

    RGM and Grace are international embarrassments for Zim. ZANU appeals fail the first test of honesty. Would Apol’s claims survive in court? No. A nation destroyed by a geriatric ego. What on earth does RGM think he’s achieved? Would someone please tell him to hurry up and die and make us all happy.

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    Isu Zvedu 9 years ago

    These zanoids Mucha and Apoli, I have one very simple question for you two: Why did Mugabe not send just one person or two- to represent us (Foreign Minister and Finance Minister-say) if indeed Mugabe has interest of the country first before he worries about his caregiver and personal life challenges of old age? Zuma sent his delegates even though he made some political statements about the selection bias. Do you know that Chinamasa is travelling to Washington this week without his wife?

  • comment-avatar

    EU damages the national interest because stays his home, his country, his continent and enjoying his pretty haven but EU always operates how to avoid this and that, but Mugabe never intervenes wherever EUs are, he doesn’t care, why do they?

  • comment-avatar

    EU damages the national interest because Mugabe stays his home, his country, his continent and enjoying his pretty haven but EU always operates how to avoid this and that, but Mugabe never intervenes wherever EUs are, he doesn’t care, why do they?