Mugabe mulling EU summit boycott over Grace

Grace Mugabe

Grace Mugabe known to be very good at shopping

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
25 March 2014

The upcoming summit between African and European Union (EU) leaders could be in doubt, with Robert Mugabe mulling a boycott if his wife is not granted a travel visa to join him.

The fourth EU-Africa summit is set to take place in Brussels, Belgium, on the 2nd to the 3rd April under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”.

Mugabe was invited despite remaining a target of the EU’s restrictive measures that prohibit European travel. The ZANU PF leader’s wife is also targeted with the measures, which were significantly reduced by the EU last month.

But despite Grace Mugabe playing no diplomatic role in the upcoming talks, the failure by the EU to invite her and extend a travel visa to her has angered her 90 year old spouse. Grace is often referred to as the ‘First Shopper’ of Zimbabwe, and is known for her opulent spending sprees during overseas travel. The measures against her and husband are also commonly referred to as ‘shopping sanctions’ because they prevent the fashion conscious Grace from spending in Europe.

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia, stated this week that the European bloc “invited those with a role to play at the meetings and the programmes of the meetings don’t have any role for spouses.”

But Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba blasted the EU position, telling the state media that the stance was “strange”.

“It’s very strange that the EU has not extended an invitation to the First Lady. What God has put together the EU is trying to separate. Do they expect the President to respect the EU and disrespect his own marriage?” Charamba was quoted as saying.

Mugabe is reportedly also fuming over the EU’s decision not to invite his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, who faces war crimes and genocide charges before the International Criminal Court. Also left off the invite list is the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, an African Union (AU) member. This has also prompted speculation of a possible boycott of the meeting by Mugabe.

It was originally unclear if Mugabe himself would be invited to the summit. But the EU appeared to give in to pressure from the AU which had threatened to withdraw from the meeting if Mugabe was not invited. This was stated shortly after an AU meeting in February where Mugabe was appointed to the First Deputy Chair of the AU. This puts him in line to take over as the AU Chair next year.

Former diplomat and political commentator Clifford Mashiri said the EU’s repeated capitulations to accommodate Mugabe meant the bloc has lost credibility. He told SW Radio Africa that he wouldn’t be surprised if the EU gave in to the pressure to give Grace a visa.

“The EU has created a problem for itself by even entertaining these African dictators. It has lost credibility and allowed itself to be swayed by its economic interests,” Mashiri said.

Europe has been increasing its re-engagement efforts with ZANU PF ever since the party secured a contested ‘victory’ at last year’s elections. The efforts to ‘normalise’ bilateral relations have been spearheaded by Belgium, the diamond capital of Europe, amid criticism that the economic gains of the European nation were being prioritised over the democratic rights of Zimbabweans.

The Antwerp World Diamond Council recently admitted it pushed for the removal of the targeted sanctions on Mugabe’s cronies to ensure it secured the rights to trade in Chiadzwa diamonds.

Meanwhile, the London based protest group the Zimbabwe Vigil is still working out a plan to hold a demonstration against Mugabe’s presence at the EU-Africa summit next week. Vigil coordinator Rose Benton said Tuesday that they will wait to see if Mugabe decides to attend the meeting or not.

To contact this reporter email [email protected] or follow on Twitter

22 Responsesto “Mugabe mulling EU summit boycott over Grace”

  1. MX 22843 says:

    Please Mr Matibili, boycott thus summit and save the tax payers millions of dollars. Beside you don’t want to be splashed on world TV with your mouth half open while you snooze and break wind.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      You are a waste of space. Robert Mugabe is not going to Brussels as the representative of Zimbabwe only but the entire African continent. By implication, he will not use the Zimbabwean taxpayers funds in financing his stay in Brussels but that of the African Union, you fool.

      If the European Union can not come to terms with this reality and place conditionalities on the Zimbabwean leader’s wife, then it is pointless to even talk about Mugabe going there on their terms. Treating the Zimbabwean leader who is now the official Vice Chairman of the African Union is a clear contempt and lack of respect for the African leader and quite frankly is unacceptable to us and the African continent. If the European Union and Brussels in particular as the host government, insist our First Lady should not accompany her husband, then it is best they have their summit in Brussels alone. It is as simple as that.

      These guys have no respect to anyone who is not of their colour. They have invited the African Union to participate in their summit and I am sure they know what to do when confronted with a stalemate of this nature. The African people no longer care very much about the actions of the European Union and the West in particular. Their behaviour is now public knowledge on the African continent.

  2. Larry King says:

    Yes stay at home save yourself having to sleep yourself through meetings and save yourself being embarrassed. The country cannot afford your lavish trips and your Grace’s lust for shopping when people in Zimbabwe are suffering.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      Your father in law, Ian Smith, used to have endless errands abroad using the taxpayers money with his wife Janet Smith beside him for his breakfast, lunch, and dinner although he presided over an illegal and illegitimate regime. And now the tables are upside down with Mugabe being the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe and Vice Chairman of the African Union, you would prefer that he stays at home. Mugabe and the First Lady think far deeper than this, my pikinini boy.

      Quite frankly, Mugabe wants to be with his wife wherever he goes to do just what the illegitimate Ian Smith was doing to his fcking wife, Janet. I am aware that you are a die-hard rhodie, but Mugabe is now a 90 year old man who deserves some form of respect from you. Ok?

      • dumbu says:

        Who deserve some form of respect from who ? How can we respect this dying dictator who wasted our money at his last birthday party. Ngaasaenda unondotisvodesa nokurara mumusangano.

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          Sekuru munogara makadakwa nedoro remasese akasanganiswa nekachasu yamunoti ‘take me quich’. Zvino chamungabure chii idzopfungwa dzakadanganyika sedza Wilbert Muroyi neshamwari yangu Yepec.
          Mugabe akaitirwa party nevanhu vanomuda munyika. Haana kubira munhu sekuru. Uye Mugabe haana chaanoda ku Europe. Kana mukadzi wake achida kutenga zvipfeko zvake mazuva ano hazvichanetsi. Anongotenga achisevenzesa Internet sekuru. Zvasiyana nekudara sekuru.
          Kana Mugabe akasaenda zvinebasa rei? Europe haipe mari ku Africa mahara. Ivo ndivo vakakoka Africa kuti iuye kumusangano wavo. Hausi musangano we Africa waitingati sei Mugabe arega kuenda. Zviri kwavari varikuda kuti Africa iuye kumusangano wavo kuti vaone kuti voitasei. Isu hatinei nazvo sekuru. Mokurawo sekuru, moita pfungwa dzakadzama kwete kugara muri fuzzzziii. Ok sekuru?

          • dumbu says:

            Uri duzvi romunhu chairo iwe . ndakakuudza kuti handina muzukuru duzura rakaita sewe ini. Mugabe akaitirwa party yekuti achifanofamba kugehena .Uchaona vanhu vaunoti vanomuda vachimupandukira manje manje vashaya pay yakakodzera iye achiita mari yokupfachura naGrace, Kuenda kwake nokusaenda fanana , kuti andovata mumusangano pasina chinoitwako. Muchava nei nazvo heyo nyika yoenda kumawere.

      • bobsled says:

        Whatever Smith did was not necessarily right. To justify Mugabe’s actions on the deeds of Smiths just highlights people’s suspicion that the independence ideals have been reduced to a mere reversal of binaries…..That is the wrong way of expressing and viewing the post-independence era vamuwarvet

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          What actions does Robert Mugabe do that am I justifying mate? Is it not true that Ian Smith’s rule of former Rhodesia was illegal and illegitimate? Is it not true that he used the taxpayers funds to fund his illegal and unjustified war against the freedom fighters of this country? Can you handle the truth?
          The fact of the matter is the European Union can not invite the African Union to participate in their summit and place conditions on Robert Mugabe’s wife who always accompanies her husband on his foreign trips. It is a clear lack of respect by the European Union to the Head of State and Government of Zimbabwe who has has already accepted to attend the European Summit in his capacity as the Vice Chairman the African Union. This is an outrage and an embarrassment to Robert Mugabe should he ever attend the summit without his wife. And why should he allow himself to be embarrassed by anyone in the European Union. There is absolutely no justification to be abused by anyone in this 21st century. The EU does not give money to Africa for nothing. Ok?

          • bobsled says:

            I thought Mugabe going to Brussels is a once off privilege made possible by the waivering of travel restrictions that the EU have over his head. You could try to spin the Brussels visit in many ways you can but it is an embarrassment even before you consider the denial of a visa for Grace (first lady). It is a privilege which screams “ok, we will allow here this time around because we cannot avoid it otherwise we don’t want you around at all. Keep your Zimbabwe and we will keep our Europe”. If Mugabe wants to avoid embarrassment he should NOT accept a once off waiver while the ban still hangs over his head. The Gracen issue is a technical outcome of the very privilege you want to think is a right, it is its very condition of possibility!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            My friend, if that is the view of the European Union, that is fine. Mugabe and his wife have not requested for a visa to visit Brussels, that much is very clear to us. If anything, it is the European Union that has invited the African Union that will be led by Robert Mugabe in his capacity as the Vice Chairman of the Union. The African Union and Mugabe in particular do not have to impose their will on the European Union, if they insist he should not go to Brussels with his wife. In any case, what is so important to this summit that can bother the African Union and Mugabe if he does not attend? This is their summit and they can decide what is in their best interest while can should also be given to consider our options. It is this straightforward mate, no love lost by telling you the truth, mate.

          • bobsled says:

            You seem to be just repeating what l said in different words. You did not bring in any substantive argument so to speak. Mugabe going to Brussels is a privilege whose parameters are clearly marked by the travel restrictions period.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Quite the opposite mate. Mugabe will not be going to Brussels in his private capacity but as a representative of the African Union, the European Union has invited to participate at their summit. It is, therefore, not quite correct to make the suggestion that his going to Brussels is a privilege.
            No doubt, the European Union has a right to stop the African union’s participation by placing any conditionality they consider to be in their best interests. The African Union and Mugabe in particular have the same rights to ponder the implications for attending a summit whose conditions they do not like. In other words, both parties have rights to consider their options. It is not as if the European Union is forcing the African Union led by Mugabe to attend. Far from it, mate.

          • dumbu says:

            Asi ndiwe unoita basa rokupisika Mugabe kumashure kana iota manyoka ake kanhi ?

      • Zim 1 says:

        I am constantly amazed at the f*cking sh*t that you spew! 100% of it is pure lies!! I hope one day you are tossed into your master’s stinking prisons.

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          If you do not have an understanding of the issues that matter at present all you do is to ask Chimbwido Warvet to explain. Besides, if you do not agree with the well informed views of the Warvet, that can not be his problem but squarely yours my pikinini.
          You have never been known to argue your case but to molest those with brains superior than yours. You are crippled in making sound and strong arguments although you are supposed to be a Rhodie whose mother tongue is English language. What a mother fcker you can be.

      • Larry King says:

        My response to your nonsense above was rejected by the Editor for unknown reasons. It was candid and honest intended to show your stupidity

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          Since when have you been honest and candid my pikinini? That your response was rejected by this pirate radio station is a clear manifestation it was chuff and irrational as always and not worthy for publication. Write sense, dwell on relevance and all will be fine, my pikinini. Ok?

          • Common Sense says:

            Write sense and dwell on relevance ?! Look in the mirror mega pikinin and you’ll see immediately that is exactly what you fail to do in every post

  3. Jackie says:

    referred to as ‘first shopper’?, BY WHO – OVER-COLONIZED BUFFON-LIKE REPORTING!

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      You see, these fools still go to shops when the internet has revolutionised the shopping world. The Mugabe family does not have to go to shops in Brussels when they can easily buy their designer clothes, food stuff and luxurious cars through the internet right in Harare and their goods sent their goodies sent right to former Salisbury in former Rhodesia, now Harare and Zimbabwe respectively. And why take the trouble of going to shop in Brussels, a hostile environment when the First Family can still go to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Peking, New Delhi and Moscow where most of the big shops from the western world have relocated?

  4. Madulla Nkosi says:

    What can Mugabe really add to any ‘Summit’.

    Does he want to pass on his secrets on how to bankrupt a country?
    Does he want to show them how to make a currency disappear?
    Does he want infect them with the his narrow-mindedness sickness?
    Does he want to boast about how many murders he committed?
    Does be want to tell the world how he caused millions of his Zimbabweans to flee their country?

    Or does he simply want to gorge himself on the delights of Belgium with his ‘ho’ in tow?

Leave a Reply