Mugabe summit boycott over wife’s visa raises uproar March 31, 2014 in NewsDay
OPPOSITION parties and civic society groups yesterday reacted angrily to President Robert Mugabe’s decision to boycott this week’s European Union/Africa summit in Brussels, Belgium, saying it was wrong for the Zanu PF leader to deny the country representation at the summit over personal issues.
Mugabe’s government on Saturday said it would not attend the summit after the hosts denied Grace Mugabe a visa to accompany her husband.
Mugabe and his wife are still under the EU travel ban imposed in 2002.
MDC Matabeleland South chairperson Pilate Ndebele said: “If you are a President, you are chosen by people to represent them and not your family or wife.
“It is 100% wrong for the President not to attend the meeting just because his wife is not invited.
“He took an oath to represent the people of Zimbabwe not his wife or family alone and boycotting the meeting because he will not be with his wife is a betrayal of the people who entrusted him with leadership.”
Political commentator Joy Mabenge said: “It’s unfortunate for Mugabe to compromise the thawing relations between Zimbabwe and EU on the basis of his spouse, Grace, being denied a visa.
“The President should put his country and people first to use the opportunity to improve trade relations between Zimbabwe and EU especially convincing investors to come and invest here.”
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Japhet Moyo said Mugabe’s boycott was a non-event as EU member countries had good trading relations with Zimbabwe even when the travel and trade embargo was in force.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said : “To hold Zimbabwe to ransom simply because Grace Mugabe cannot attend the summit is the worst form of sabotage for one’s country.
“The EU did invite Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is not Grace Mugabe.”
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni said: “It shows that he (Mugabe) is after merry-making.
“What is the role of her being at the summit?
“Which country does she lead?”