Zimbabwe bigger than Grace

via Zim bigger than Grace – DailyNews Live by Conrad Nyamutata  1 APRIL 2014

It seems confirmed that President Robert Mugabe is going to boycott the EU-Africa summit set for Brussels, Belgium.

Apparently, Mugabe is taking a “principled” stance because some African countries have been excluded from the meeting.

South African President Jacob Zuma has also pointed out that the EU should not decide on the composition of the African delegation. “I thought the AU and EU are equal organisations representing two continents but there is not a single one of them who must decide for others.”

But the Europeans have been “clever” enough to couch the meeting as the EU-Africa, and not the EU-AU summit. As such, the EU has given itself latitude to invite individual African countries of its choice, not necessarily all members of the AU.

It did not invite Eritrea and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, both members of the AU, for unexplained reasons. But the major reason for Mugabe’s “principled” stance, is the exclusion of his wife, Grace. While Mugabe has been invited, the First Lady has been denied a visa. “What God has put together the EU is trying to separate,” said Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba. “Do they expect the president to respect the EU and disrespect his own marriage?”

The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia has stated that spouses have no role at the summit and Grace has no business at the meeting.

It is all farcical. The issuance of a one-off visa to Grace would not prejudice the EU.

Nonetheless, the suggestion that Grace’s exclusion and Mugabe’s absence for two or three days amounts to an affront to the president’s marriage should be taken for the melodramatic exaggeration that it is.

The summit is set for 2-3 April. The visa saga reduces a significant opportunity to remedy international relations to parochial and frivolous interests.

One of the priorities for Zimbabwe ought to re-engage with the international community after years of isolation.

The EU-Africa Summit is one opportunity towards rejoining the community of nations.

The summit provides Mugabe with a chance to put his case for Zimbabwe’s re-engagement. The benefits of re-engagement accrue to citizens through investment, jobs and so on.

By attending the summit, Mugabe will, therefore, be acting in the national interests.

The visa saga, thus, sacrifices these broader interests on the altar of overly-dramatised concerns.

It ought to be remembered that, as chief executive officer of this country, Mugabe would be going to Brussels to “work” — part of the mandate he was given, put aside the electoral controversy — unless he and his wife want to turn the visit into a holiday.

Ordinarily, CEOs do not have the pleasure of taking their wives on business trips; and if they do, the practice if often frowned upon. Such brief separations hardly result in marital breakdowns. Similarly, Grace has no business in Brussels.

But she can have “business” here for the days Mugabe will be away, that is, if the president decides to attend.

Early February, thousands of people were evacuated after torrential rains occasioned the partial collapse of the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, reportedly now planning a belated visit, also missed an opportunity to show an empathetic side his main opponent has failed to demonstrate other than declaring it a national disaster.

Grace can, for a day, swap the comforts of State House or Borrowdale for the none-visa-requiring Chingwizi.

First Ladies, touted as mothers of nations, should embody maternal and humanistic qualities often lost in the dust of the often-patriarchal cut-throat politics.

Grace was prepared to travel to places to offer goods to people during her husband’s campaign rallies before the July election.

To many, this was blatant vote-buying so she could secure another stint in the State House.

It becomes quite crass that she is now the subject of dispute over her travel to glitzy cities of Europe: now ensconced in the State House again, she can’t visit the less glamorous places like Chingwizi anymore.



  • comment-avatar
    apolitical 8 years ago

    Really difficult for the EU ambassador to understand he doesnt get to decide who gets to go to other organisations meetings.
    If he wanted an EU meeting, that’s what he has now organized.
    What an idiot!

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      Senzachena 8 years ago

      Apolitical, please understand that the EU did not want Mugabe in the first place. They were put on the spot as a result of Mugabe’s position in the AU. What can the geriatric leader of a totally bancrupt country offer to AU/EU relations? The answer is of course NOTHING. Why waste Euros on this madman and his bloated entourage. I have no doubt that refusing Grace’s visa was an easy way to get up his nose and ensure that having thrown his toys he would not attend. Thus ensuring that the meetings are not interrupted by his snoring!

      Wake up, smell the coffee, your beloved leader is considered to be a murderer, a thief and a fool by civilised society. They want nothing to do with him. I bet you the rest of Africa will reject his request to boycott and rush off to Brussels with begging bowls extended. They will not miss out on a chance for some free handouts just because some ancient idiots wife is not allowed to go shopping! You are Zanu trash.

      • comment-avatar
        apolitical 8 years ago

        please common sense needed urgently.
        We don’t say because we don’t like someone that they shouldn’t attend a UN meeting – we don’t have a vote on that we don’t prepare the invitations to some else’s meeting it is just not done – its not about personal preferences its about the organisations and members wishes.
        Democracy doesn’t extend to some arbitory journalists deciding who should and who shouldn’t attend an AU meeting.

        • comment-avatar

          You know what apol, I for one alongside millions of other Zimbo’s want to see someone else representing Zimbabwe. I am enough. Zvakwana. Enough. He is NOT Zimbabwe! End of story.

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            Ivor Payne 8 years ago

            This was a really bad business decision by the EU – a visit by Grace would really help when its economy is struggling….

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          What do you keep going on about? What do you not understand about this being an EU MEETING, to whom African countries have been invited? What do you not understand about the EU sponsoring the meeting and paying all the bills and holding it in Europe? What do you not understand about the EU having the prerogative to invited whom they want. Let’s explain this to you one more time Apolitcal – T-H-I-S IS AN EU MEETING, PAID FOR BY THE EU, HELD IN THE EU. THIS IS NOT AN AU MEETING. Weird you can’t grasp this.

      • comment-avatar
        Matake 8 years ago

        Well said bro/sis they didn’t want a cantenkerous old fool to disturb proceedings with his tired rantings. Heh Blair is a toilet, heh let me keep my Zimbabwe, Sadam was a good man, Gadhafi was my hero, gays are worse than dogs, I have degrees in violence, ndakarwa hondo, sovreignty, heh Zim shall never be a colony again etc, etc….

    • comment-avatar
      Parangeta 8 years ago

      ZPF FOOL!

  • comment-avatar
    Peter tosh 8 years ago

    Apolitical, give us a break please!

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 8 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Jogo Bonita 8 years ago

    Mugabe and Grace can go to hell instead.their visas are guaranteed.

  • comment-avatar
    Zvakwana 8 years ago

    It will be difficult for Mugabe to put his case across when he can’t keep his eyes open for any length of time.

  • comment-avatar
    Senzachena 8 years ago

    Apolitical, can your get it through your brain that it is not a question of whether the EU likes Mugabe or not, I am quite sure they do not like him. However they invited him to attend, what they did not want was to foot the bill of his wife whose only contribution would be to increase various retailers profits (That is if she paid the invoices). Understand it is not a conference between EU and AU, it is between EU and AFRICA. As such I have no doubt they will invite those who they believe can add value and that does not include the concubines of geriatric incompetants. I am quite sure that they all breathed a sigh of relief when his lordship decided not to go.

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    Bongani Dube 8 years ago

    The tantrum by the old man saved Zimbabwe millions of dollars which could have been squandered for nuthing.I hope Grace is not invited to many more summits to cut the country’s costs.Bravo EU and shame on you Bob for hiding behind your wife’s skirt.

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    jobolinko 8 years ago

    It was never for zimbabwe but for his wife no wonder why its not a bother to him

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    Mapingu 8 years ago

    Thanks for this precise observation: “… Europeans have been “clever” … as the EU-Africa, and not the EU-AU summit”.

    If only our dumb African “leaders” would see this clear sense then we would be spared this unwarranted noise of by a coterie of senile dictators who want to use the opportunity to take their un-welcome wives and concubines to for shopping sprees in Europe in the name of AU.

    Fact is, meeting has nothing to do with AU. Finish. May be next time it will be an EU_AU meeting but not now. Tough lucky guyz.