Africa threatens EU summit snub over Mugabe

Wylbur Simuusa

The AU has threatened to withdraw from a planned EU summit

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
03 February 2014

The African Union (AU) has threatened to withdraw from a planned trade and investment summit with the European Union (EU), if the Western bloc does not invite Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, who turns 90 years old this month, was elected First Vice-Chair of the influential AU executive council during last week’s General Assembly meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The appointment makes him eligible for the chairmanship of the AU in 2015.

The appointment also reportedly renders “futile” a decision by the EU not to invite him to a summit of the two blocs set for Belgium in April. The ZANU PF leader remains targeted under the EU’s list of restrictive measures, which prevents him and a handful of other ZANU PF officials from European travel.

But Africa’s leaders have now rallied behind Mugabe, whose position as President remains disputed by civil society groups and the opposition MDC parties in Zimbabwe.

According to the Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister, Wylbur Simuusa, the AU resolved to snub the EU summit if Mugabe is not invited.

“We must now speak with one voice and make sure we act in the interest of Africa. That is why for the EU-Africa summit coming up, where Zimbabwe has been singled out with restrictions for President Robert Mugabe from attending, the position that the AU has taken is that if Zimbabwe won’t go, then Africa will not go and that has been agreed upon,” Simuusa said.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi also confirmed the position taken by the AU on his return from Ethiopia on Saturday.

The EU has in recent months been steadily re-engaging with the ZANU PF regime, despite the widespread reports of vote rigging and other irregularities that marred the Zim elections last year. This re-engagement has included removing the majority of its targeted Zim restrictions, with only Mugabe, nine other people and one company still listed.

EU leaders will be meeting later this month to determine if the remaining measures should also be lifted, and there is speculation that this will be the ultimate decision from Europe.

UK based Zimbabwean activist Ephraim Tapa told SW Radio Africa that the EU has likely been engineering Mugabe’s acceptance back into diplomatic circles, “because there is a fight for access to Zimbabwe’s natural resources.”

Belgium, Europe’s diamond trade capital, successfully led the push for the lifting of measures that barred it from trading in Zimbabwe’s controversial Chiadzwa diamonds. Tapa said similar “greedy” motives might have engineered Mugabe’s promotion to a top leadership position at the AU.

“The AU position was expected since they endorsed Zimbabwe’s elections without saying the process was fair, so now they are trying to normalise the abnormal. But the EU position goes against international principles of human rights, and it is all about diamonds,” Tapa said.

Former Chegutu farmer turned activist Ben Freeth said the developments in Africa were a real concern for democracy and human rights across the continent. Freeth, who has led key legal battles against Mugabe, told SW Radio Africa that the AU’s defense of Mugabe in this way is “preposterous.”

“It is preposterous that a man who has committed genocide, who has destroyed the rule of law, destroyed his own country’s economy, who has been the cause of a quarter of the population leaving the country because of what he has done, is elected by other African leaders to a top position,” Free said.

He added: “Africa can’t progress when its leaders are dictators. And to say a man is great and give him such power on the basis of what he has destroyed, is very concerning for Africa’s future,” Freeth said.

Meanwhile, the AU has also urged its members to unite to protect more of its fellows in preventing criminal proceedings at the International Criminal Court against sitting presidents. The AU said it was disappointed that a request to the UN Security Council to defer the trials of Kenya’s leaders “has not yielded the positive result expected”. The African Union also has sought the deferral of criminal proceedings against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged with genocide in Darfur.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto face charges of crimes against humanity at the international court at The Hague for allegedly orchestrating post-election violence that killed more than 1,000 people following a disputed presidential election in late 2007. Both men deny the charges.

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26 Responsesto “Africa threatens EU summit snub over Mugabe”

  1. wilbert says:

    This story only serves to illustrate why Africa is considered the “dark continent, incapable of self-rule”.

    “We must now speak with one voice and make sure we act in the interest of Africa,” Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Wylbur Simmusa argued. What the AU is doing is propping up a ruthless tyrant who has not only destroyed a once prosperous country, murdered over 30 000 Zimbabweans but is now destabilizing the whole region. How can that be in Africa’s interests?

    We have a situation here where Mugabe has blatantly rigging the election and the West, notably US, Canada, Australia and the EU, have condemned Mugabe for this. Even the AU election observers have criticized Mugabe for failing to produce the all important voters’ roll in time. At least one month before the election, the observer team said in their report.

    Mugabe failed to produce the voters’ roll and elections were held without one. Nearly a million potential voters were denied the right to vote because their names were not on the roll although they had registered to vote. They constituted 33% of the 3 million cast votes and therefore would have made a difference to the result considering Mugabe’s winning margin was less than a million.

    The reason why so many people’s names were missing on elections-day was that their names had been posted in a different ward than the one they expected it to be. If the voters’ roll had been made public then people would have gone to the right ward if they could. It is hard to see how the posting of names in wrong ward and then the failure to produce a voters’ roll in time were all accidents!

    Mugabe has stubbornly refused to release the voters roll for the various court challenges of some of the elections results.

    The voters’ roll is the smoking gun to Mugabe’s vote rigging.

    One would have thought the AU would be the one pushing for free, fair and credible elections and thus good governance as the way to end Africa’s backwardness. They would be pushing the West and the international community at large to isolate leaders like Mugabe and thus force them to restore the rule of law and good governance in their respective country. Instead the continental body is the one pushing for a cover up of tyrants like Mugabe’s mismanagement, corruption and tyrannical rule.

    I hope the West is going to stand firm against tyrants like Mugabe and give the ordinary people a chance to end this cycle of corruption and poverty. Only leaders elected by the people in free and fair elections will end the tyranny and corruption!

    • THE BLACK ARISTOCRAT says:

      ‘One would have thought the AU would be the one pushing for free, fair and credible elections and thus good governance as the way to end Africa’s backwardness. They would be pushing the West and the international community at large to isolate leaders like Mugabe and thus force them to restore the rule of law and good governance in their respective country.’

      Mugabe and Zanu PF will not under any circumstances ever allow a free and fair election in Zimbabwe – it is simply not ever going to happen under his Military Dictatorship, or any other leader imposed after him. Why ? They know very well they would be completely destroyed politically by the electorate who hate them with a passion for looting the country into bankruptcy – Mugabe is acutely aware of this, which is why he refused to implement any of the political reforms in the GPA during the tenure of the last parliament, and has need to rig every election since 1980.

      It was obvious to all but the blind optimists three months before the last election, he would again use industrial scale rigging via the voters role, to such an extent it would not matter if nearly every Zimbabwean voted for some other party, Mugabe’s rigged majority of ghost voters would still be larger – and so it proved.

      Laughingly, he was so confident of the rigging being successful, that two days before the election date, he stated in front of the international press, he would stand down if defeated – as Africa’s long history shows, power crazed psychopaths like Mugabe, never ever stand down even if they get destroyed at the ballot box, they never stand down ! Why is this? They actually believe their country belongs to them – who can forget Mugabe’s utterly ridiculous “Zimbabwe is mine rant” when asked to introduce political reforms in line with SADC principles.

      Despite some very modest progress, across much of Africa, far too many nations are still run like Mafia States, for the benefit of a very tiny, largely ill educated, violent political elite who will stop at nothing to prevent democracy getting a foothold in the continent – until this changes, the lives of most Africans and Zimbabweans in particular will remain shamelessly short and lived mostly in abject poverty – as evidenced by the fact that Mugabe and most of his Zanu PF henchmen have already lived more than twice as long as the average life expectancy of most Zimbabwean’s today !

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        Who are you to tell us this nonsense when for sometime you indicated to us that you are not Zimbabwean? You have no clue to the political history of this country and can not stand on moral high ground propagating this crap. You have no manners for insulting our leaders when you very country has only two political parties that have governed the United Kingdom for the last fifty years. Is this democracy when only the Labour party and Conservatives have led this country for donkey years. Is it democracy for only 1% of your country’s population to own and control over 60 percent of the country’s GNP while the majority 99% of the population live on the remaining 40% of the GNP. Your understanding of democracy is warped and shows just how ignorant and ill-educated and learned you are. You live in a fools’ paradise and not aware that only 1% of the population right in your country are the ones who foolishly tell you there is democracy and employs you to propagate this nonsense to the world. Fortunately, the world is fully aware as to who owns and controls the global economy and finance wars on a global scale to make them super rich by selling arms of war to the belligerents. We are not stupid, young man.

        The African Union appointed Robert Mugabe and nobody can change it.They are fully aware of the conduct of our elections last year and are fully behind Mugabe. In the circumstances, the European Union has to make informed choices here. They can either go it alone or engage the African Union under the leadership of Robert Mugabe. The African continent position is loud and clear that without the participation of Robert Mugabe, no African state will attend the summit. We are all exasperating to know the European Union’s position in this matter that seemingly is a straightforward one.

        • THE BLACK ARISTOCRAT says:

          I repeat again, if Zimbabwe under Mugabe is so great why are you living in the UK on benefits provided by hardworking UK taxpayers – yet continually castigate the very people who are feeding you?

          Hypocrisy of the highest order !

          Its about time the UK authorities investigated the political behaviour and bank account transactions of many of the so-called Zimbabwean immigrants living on benefits at taxpayers expense in the UK, to see if the generosity of hardworking UK taxpayers is being cynically abused. In fact,i shall be writing to the UK ministry concerned to request such a action, with examples based on the behaviour and activity of people such as you !

          Be aware, living off benefits, while receiving undeclared payments from rogue regimes like the Military Dictatorship’s CIO in Zimbabwe to sing the murderous criminals praises is highly illegal in the UK, and subject to a lengthy prison sentence. The UK is not Zimbabwe, you do not enjoy immunity from prosecution here, we prosecute criminals without fear or favour !

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            I repeat again that Chimbwido Warvet has at no time lived on the blood and sweat of anybody. If anything, he is concerned by members of our society who claim for benefits when they are able bodied citizens who can make things happen but look forward to the taxpayer to assist them. Chimbwido Warvet is not that type but believes in hard work to earn a decemt living

            Chimbwido Warvet has an illustrious record in his country of residence for working really hard and paying all his taxes that go to help the less advantaged members of our society. He therefore has nothing to fear. Go ahead and find for yourself if Chimbwido Warvet has ever lived on benefits wherever he has been located in the country. You are so stupid and unbelievable Wilbert Muroyi. The Warvet wants to see real action and not cheap talk

        • Common Sense says:

          Where did your myth of 1% own 60% ?

          a) also, did it not occur to you that they managed to create wealth still more than 33 years after independence without having to leverage anything from their political history and skin colour

          b) that they actually created wealth by GETTING OFF THEIR ARSES and doing something as opposed to stealing something they did not create like your ZPF policies are enforcing.

          Message: stop crying, create, don’t steal what is not yours

        • William Doctor says:

          Oi Chimbwido the f**kign warvet

          If you don’t like the Eu then don’t ask them for monet comrade. Why did Bob recently as the Breeteesshh to pay the school fees for 1 million mini-wovets? Fokof comrade.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            There is no free lunch in this world. Nobody gives you anything for nothing you buffoon. And nobody is asking the EU for its money for nothing. Get you facts right and go back to school, Witch Doctor. You are actually a wizard.

        • Larry King says:

          You have your own selfish reasons of sleeping with your “leaders” in the same bed, they feed you, nourish you and employ you to do their dirty work. And like a moron you ever obliging to these thugs.

          We have never heard of conservative or liberal politics in this country, we had minority white racist rule and now we a minority black corrupt Zanu PF. The difference is wide the whites whom you call conservatives, as much as they were racist, they importantly delivered good governance. They gave us all the necessities of life, cheap food, good cheap transport which was reliable and efficient, safe drinking water etc. Where the whites succeeded your black Zanu PF has actually destroyed whatever good they left for us.

          Part of your Zanu PF job is to spin and play around with numbers that you do not understand. After all you are not a statistician, you are a moron who should stick to his profession which is to spy for the party of thieves. I just do not comprehend your stupidity, pretending you are an expert on global affairs or economics, neither of which makes any sense to you. Our politics are as good as dead so is our economy we are not what you think we are. We are detached from the global economy. We lie at the very bottom we are no where at the top even amongst African countries. We are at the very bottom in tandem with Somalia.

          The AU is a waste, it only recognizes failed African dictators like Mugabe. They reward a murderer and a destroyer of Zimbabweans who has killed our future and aspirations to a better life. The AU represents a bunch of fat cats who are there to protect vested interests, they do not care about free and fair elections. The AU turns a blind eye to prevailing abnormal conditions in our case where it is ripe for rigging. The AU sends a handful of dozy idiots who arrive in the country a day or two before an election, speak to their fellow thugs in Zanu PF and go back home the next day and wait for Zanu PF to announce the rigged outcome.

          Europe must stick to its decision that Mugabe a proven gangster must be excluded from any meeting they host. They are not obliged to take orders from an AU which is a discredited body which is made up largely of tin pot dictators and murderers. The EU is merely hosting a conference for show, it can easily do without most of the African countries who are dependent on handouts etc. Zimbabwe is such a country. .

      • wilbert says:

        To start with, Mugabe did not refuse anything. MDC who were in the GNU to bring about meaningful democratic changes did not propose any reforms. Not a sausage! So how can Mugabe “refuse” something that is not there and never existed?

        Second, if you do not understand that not even one reform was implemented because of MDC and its leader Tsvangirai’s breath-taking incompetence, even now with the benefit of hind sight; then you will never understand anything. You give me the impression that you believe MDC have done everything expected of them and there was absolutely nothing else they could and should have done to ensure the elections were not free and fair! When in fact the exact opposite is true!

        You say “It was obvious to all but the blind optimists three months before the last election, he (Mugabe) would again use industrial scale rigging”. I doubt if it was obvious to you then or now but you can prove it by answering these two simple questions. What was it that made the vote rigging obvious? What did you do or say about it?

        • THE BLACK ARISTOCRAT says:

          If you look at the comment i posted on the Zimbabwean newspaper website 3 months before the election date(see below), you will see i predicted Mugabe would use industrial scale rigging of the voters roll to get re-elected. What made it obvious? Firstly, British and US Intelligence from wikileaks, revealed that Mugabe has rigged every election since 1980, and needed around 2 million ghost voters since 2000 in order to do it, such is his unpopularity. Secondly, there has never been a single democracy in the world, where the sitting government and president has been re-elected when unemployment has reached 50% of the adult population. In Zimbabwe it is as high as 95% by some estimates.

          “With the unreformed hate-spewing Zanu PF media sinking from propaganda to outright lies, it is time for the murderous recidivist thugs fighting for control of Zanu PF to be brought to heel once and for all!

          The scale of the challenge facing the SADC and International Community is becoming ever clearer as Zanu PF puts into action its well-practiced plan to rig the vote with the arrogant confidence bred of three decades of stealing elections.

          A corrupt voters’ roll and insuperable obstacles to voter registration, together with harassment of voter education, are merely the beginning.

          We are now told by Mugabe’s handlers (straight from Orwell’s 1984) that security sector reforms were never on the agenda despite Article 13 (1) of the Global Political Agreement which reads ‘State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties’.

          Just a few of the outstanding issues, Zanu PF has failed to address, despite agreeing to do so, in order remain in government after getting soundly thrashed in the last elections :
          · A rigged voters’ roll
          · Obstacles to voter registration (except for Zanu PF and the military)
          · Intimidation of MDC voters
          · Corrupt electoral commission
          · Clampdown on civil society organisations
          · Politicised security forces
          · Biased judges
          · Unreformed media
          · Refusal to allow UN scrutiny
          · Limits on election observers
          · Total non-co-operation with SADC

          Basically what the corrupt Zanu PF gangsters are saying to the SADC and the International community, is that Zimbabwe is an illegal military dictatorship, a one party mafia state run by them – and they will only accept elections where they can rig the outcome in their favour – any form of democracy where the people’s will has to be respected is totally unacceptable!

          Everybody in Zimbabwe knows that despite a new constitution, Zimbabwe still remains totally lawless, and are very aware that Mugabe and his illegal military dictatorship has never respected a law in their lives, unless it had some political or financial benefit to them.

          Zimbabweans are not disunited – the people are entirely united in their hatred of the murderous gangsters that illegally rule them through the use of colonial era laws, intimidation, vote rigging and, horrific violence, on a scale unseen outside of a war zone !”

          • wilbert says:

            Well done! You are certainly one of the very few Zimbabweans who saw the vote rigging coming. Still, I am not sure whether you saw the whole picture or only part of the picture.

            Can you please answer the following questions.
            1) Did MDC and its leader Tsvangirai do what was expected of them to ensure free and fair elections?
            2) Would you have voted to approve the Copac constitution in the March 2013 referendum?

          • THE BLACK ARISTCRAT says:

            wibert, first let me say, i am not a Zimbabwean, but a British humanitarian. The real clue to the need for Mugabe’s industrial rigging in the 2013 elections actually lay in the 2008 election result. Where Mugabe who despite a massive ghost vote, STILL got thrashed in the presidential election, so badly it took his riggers over a month of vote manipulation just to get his share of the vote up to 42% in order to force a run off !

            In answer to your questions: The MDC and Tsvangirai did not do anywhere near enough to ensure the implementation of the political reforms agreed in the GPA to deliver a more even political playing field at elections – the SADC totally mismanaged the situation by allowing elections to proceed without the very political reforms not only the GPA but their own rules required – they should have told Mugabe in no uncertain terms they would not respect any elections in Zimbabwe unless the reforms were implemented.

            Since i am not a Zimbabwean i could not vote on the Copac constitution – however, to be frank the document is largely worthless, because as has always been the case Mugabe will implement only that of political and financial benefit to himself and his party, and brazenly ignore the rest !

          • wilbert says:

            I am pleased to see that you are one of the very few who have understood Zimbabwe’s problem and very disappointed that you are NOT a Zimbabweans. We could have done with a few Zimbabweans with your intellect. We have more than our fair share of morons, I tell; which is why the country is in a real mess of course!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Wilbert Muroyi deceives his followers by posing silly questions that he answers using a different name. What a load of garbage!!!!!!!

  2. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    The European Union has a choice to make and so is the African Union. If Mugabe is denied the right to attend the European summit as the representative and Vice Chairman of the Union, it makes no sense for the African States that he represents to attend the economic summit in Brussels. Both sides have a right to make informed choices. Otherwise, the European Union can hold its economic summit without Robert Mugabe and the African States that he represents. The ball is in its court.

  3. Yepec says:

    Zimbabweans should seriously take into consideration what Wilbert is saying that the West may be involved in a cover up of Mugabe’s dictatorship. Memories of Chamberlain’s stories during World War II, come to mind

    If the EU capitulates to the AU’s demand, then humanity will have witnessed it capitulating twice in less than a year, on account of diamonds and general trade. This is “China’s way of doing things”, tipping the scales in favour of self interests than Human Rights.

    The horror stories seem to be taking place right in front of the World, reminding one of the way Hitler marched into France. These are some of the creeping events of the twenty-first Century.

  4. Hungwe says:

    “We must now speak with one voice and make sure we act in the interest of Africa. ???? So according to AU Mugabe is Africa. I now believe it! Africa is cursed.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      Your capacity to see the bigger picture resembles that of insane children and adolescents. You can not argue your case and make yourself understood by all of us. I am aware that you do not like Mugabe that much but as a loner, you can not influence change on the African continent.
      The African Union is composed of 52 African States whose leaders vote for a leader they consider has the ability and capacity to represent the interests of the African states and their people. Mugabe did not impose himself but was selected amongst 52 Heads of States who had an equal chance to lead the continent. It should be a cause for celebration for true Zimbabweans that we have a leader who has appointed to hold this prestigious position. I am now convinced that you are no different from the rhodies whose philosophy has always been to divide our people and thereby promoting their well known agendas. Zimbabweans should grow up and stop this unnecessary bickering that only helps Zimbabwe’s enemies to tear our country apart. It is uncalled for and foolish.

      • Common Sense says:

        Again you miss the point…. the AU is a club of corrupt politicians who celebrate corruption and dictatorships… all so they can stay in power themselves…

        It is the AU’s condoning of Mugabe’s actions which is disgusting, and destroys any credibility the AU might have.

        Who cares of the AU don’t go to this meeting by the way, it’s their funeral

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          Look here Wilbert Muroyi, the African Union can not be ignored by even by the insane children and adolescents. It the continent where the majority of raw materials for the global economy to prosper. It is not that the African States leadership will go to Brussels to get their Euro for nothing.
          There is no free lunch, not even a free cup of tea in the European Union. It is business as usual. It is for this reason that the African Union has to weigh their options cautiously and make informed choices. The days when Western Europe dictated terms to the African continent are seemingly coming to an end as their leaders have come of age.
          Your love and hate relationship with Robert Mugabe is not shared by the leadership of the African continent who appointed him to lead the African Union and the European Union can not change the African position on Mugabe position as its Vice Chairman it is confronted with at the moment. It can choose to go it alone without the African Union’s participation or it will have to accept the position of the African States. We do not have to dwell a lot on a matter that is so straightforward as this one. This needs the mutual co-operation and understanding of each other’s position, Wilbert Mukori.

      • William Doctor says:

        @ Chimbwido

        So how did Botswana vote? And what about Libya? I note that the Zimbabwe Govt still refuses to recognize the Libyan Govt.

      • wilbert says:

        It is Mugabe and morons like you who are tearing Zimbabwe apart you idiot! What you want the nation to do is to accept it and suffer in silence.

        Mugabe rigged the 2013 elections the AU knows that but, sadly, the continental body is led by some of the most incompetent leaders on this planet.

        The AU’s decision to boycott the Africa-EU summit is bizarre to say the very least in that it is Africa that needs Europe more than the other way round. Yes Africa has turned to the Middle East and Far East, especially China for unconditional
        trade. If Europe and the West are exploiting Africa then China is even worse. The West is at worst a tick to a cow whilst China is at best diseased vampire bat!

        Which is why, with the nation bankrupt, Mugabe is desperate to have his ban to travel to Europe lifted so he can attend the Africa-EU summit and visit all the European countries begging bowl in one hand and walking stick in the other. He can go to China any day but he does not bother because he knows he will not get a penny from them. To go begging to the Chinese; that is like a beggar standing outside a public lavatory, all he will get is the smell!

        Ever since Kenya coerced the rest of the AU to endorse its call to have serving heads of state from being exempted from ICC charges; the AU has grown too big for its boots! The West should not allow an unregistered beggars’ union to dictate its foreign policy. The West should simply cut all aid, loans and grants to all those African nations who do not attend the Africa-EU or Africa-USA summits.

        The EU was right to cut aid to Malawi because the level of corruption in that country had reached nauseating heights and now, thank God, its leaders are doing some long overdue spring cleaning. Now the West must extend the same stern no-nonsense stand to the rest of Africa. If the continent’s leaders are stupid enough to allow themselves to cover up for Mugabe’s barbarism them they must share in the punishment too!

        Turning a blind eye to Mugabe’s blatant vote rigging is one thing but trying doing the same thing – which they will be compelled to do if the West was to cut all its financial support – and getting away with it is another as Mugabe and Malawi’s
        Banda can testify!

  5. Common Sense says:

    So boycott the meeting then, you’re only shooting yourselves in the foot, supporting Mugabe is definitely not the moral high ground

  6. jay says:

    Who is Freedt? If he is indigenous to Africa, they he would understand why the Chimurenga man, MUGABE THE GREAT, is being hailed by all good Africans as an ICON*

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