Zuma joins Mugabe’s EU boycott

Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
31 March 2014

South African President Jacob Zuma has made a last minute decision not to attend this week’s European Union (EU) – Africa summit, which is facing a boycott led by Robert Mugabe.

The fourth EU – Africa Summit will take place on Wednesday and Thursday this week in Belgium, and plans to bring together African and EU leaders under the theme ‘Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace.’

Some African leaders, including Zambia’s Michael Sata, have already started arriving in Brussels ahead of the meeting. But it was announced this weekend that Zuma would not be joining his counterparts. Instead, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will represent South Africa at the meeting.

South Africa’s Presidency has not said if Zuma’s withdrawal from the summit is linked to Mugabe’s boycott threat, with the 90 year old ZANU PF leader lashing out at Europe for ‘dictating’ the makeup of the African delegations. Mugabe was left fuming after his wife Grace was not invited to attend the Brussels gathering and was refused a travel visa.

Mugabe’s boycott threat was last week then echoed by an organ of the AU, which recommended that the entire African bloc not attend the summit. Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, said a meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council held in Ethiopia Wednesday recommended that Africa boycotts the summit if the EU ‘insisted’ on determining the composition of country delegations.

Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for South Africa’s department of international relations and co-operation, said on Monday that Zuma “has other commitments,” and would not elaborate further.

The South African leader however was quoted by the national SABC broadcaster as saying: “I think that time must pass wherein we are looked as subjects; we are told who must come, who must not come, we have not attempted to decide when we meet Europe; who must come and who must not come. It is wrong and causes this unnecessary unpleasantness.”

Mugabe has reportedly also been angered by 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 AU member, with the African bloc accusing the EU of trying to undermine the AU’s authority and sovereignty. Eritrea has also been barred from attending because of its human rights record.

Exiled Zimbabwean journalist Tanonoka Whande said Monday that the EU is again facing a credibility crisis, by bending the rules for some “dictators” and not others. Mugabe himself was originally not set to attend the meeting, because he remains targeted with European restrictive measures. These same measures have prevented his wife from travelling to the EU.

“This shows the inconsistency of the EU. Why are the rules being bent to accommodate Mugabe?” Whande questioned, calling the move “sanctions busting.”

Meanwhile Rose Benton, the coordinator of the London based protest group, the Zimbabwe Vigil, said that a demonstration will be held at the Brussels meeting this week.

“We felt we should be there. We are protesting about the lack of the rule of law in Zimbabwe and Europe’s support of an illegal regime. It seems Europe doesn’t care about Zimbabweans and we need to protest this,” Benton said.

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19 Responsesto “Zuma joins Mugabe’s EU boycott”

  1. mike hondo says:

    the two lame duck presidents can sit at home fiddling while their countries economies burn no one in europe will miss them one bit and they would have just fallen asleep during these meetings same as they do at every meeting ,rest at home dear fellows your many fat wives can come back and spend all yer stolen loot later in the summer when it is warmer and the summer sales have started

    • Jack Daniels says:

      Who’s going to miss either of these two jumped up nonentities?

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        For the African continent, it has been the cash cow for the European Union for centuries. It is time to try something new. The Zimbabwean dream is to make a mark and do something the country can be proud of. We have engaged the Chinese and Russians who are making a huge contribution to the country. We can see their presence on the continent and the infrastructure they are putting in place, huge investments the African continent could not have envisioned some fifty years since some European colonial powers left countries like Ghana and Nigeria.
        It is their summit and let them participate alone without our involvement. There is nothing wrong for those African countries who want to participate and to go for sight seeing of the historic building in Brussels of former King Leopold of the Congo, the architect of the scramble for African in 1884 that saw our continent being parcelled out among the European powers for their own benefit. Today, the European people still behave in pretty much the same as was the case in the 19th century.
        The African continent has evolved, knows what it wants and can not pushed around as before. Get this in your greasy head and behave.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      Your jubilation is misplaced. The African Union is a far greater continent than the European continent. It is endowed with the natural resources that are th envy of the west and nobody can take away that reality. Zimbabwe and South Africa in particular do not need anything from the European Union. It had a chance of developing the continent it was part of for centuries but there is nothing really tangible they left behind other misery, degradation of our land, stealing land and plundering of our resources. The irony of it all, is when each country on the continent became independent, they simply abandoned the country, did not transfer technology for the country to remain a perpetual dependent of the European Union.
      With the coming of the Chinese and Russians on the African continent, we are beginning to see real development, a development that is tangible. These countries are addressing some of the challenges that were left behind unattended by the former colonial powers when they hurriedly abandoned us with nothing to show that we were once colonised by these countries.
      Zimbabwe and South Africa do not hope to get any financial aid from the European Union. In any case, we do not need foreign aid but foreign direct investments which the European Union is unable to provide in these most difficult economic times in Europe and the entire western world. Its financial systems have fallen apart with debts of unprecedented level affecting all countries right across the European countries, including the United States that is borrowing finance from the Chinese people for its military adventures abroad and domestic expenditure. The majority of countries in the European Union have soaring debts running into trillions of British pounds and are borrowing heavily to sustain their expenditures. This is all public knowledge. Nobody can be fooled by politicians in Europe that they are doing any better than the African continent. All countries have screwed up big time by the Wall Street bankers and are in dire straits, without exception. If anyone wants to know the truth, here it is. Facts and nothing else but facts that are in the public domain. Nobody can be lied to.
      Quite frankly, the European Union can not borrow from the Chinese people for the purposes of financing Zimbabwe or South Africa debt burdens and let alone to invest in these countries. What is feasible in the circumstances the European Union finds itself is to provide for the needs of its people first before it can help people on the African continent.

      The European Union can not afford the luxury of ignoring the African continent when faced with this economic meltdown that is reminiscent of the Great Depression of 1929-30. It is pure recklessness of the politicians of the European Union to place conditionalities on African leaders whose countries have contributed so much for Europe to be what it is today. It is pure madness.
      Well, let us see how the European Union is going to get out of the economic malaise it is currently embroiled in without the involvement of the African continent. Let us not delude ourselves. The survival of the African continent should be with the Far East that treats the African continent as equal partners and not the European Union. and they should not look back. The European Union has no contribution to make to the African continent and our participation in their summit is not a big deal at all. If the African leaders want to go sight seeing in Brussels, there is the opportunity but not for anything of substance. Amen.

  2. Larry King says:

    Zuma is not S. Africa. He is boycotting the EU but S.Africa will have a
    delegation at the summit. Who is Zuma? Another Mugabe in the making? He
    has a lot of problems surrounding his corrupt behavior for which he has
    been heavily censured. He is afraid to leave his country or arrive in
    Brussels where the free press will mince him for his sins.

  3. Uheshe says:

    Good for you Bob and Jacob. The people are cheering you on.

  4. david taylor says:

    Of course I don’t know, but I would suspect that his non-attendance at the summit has more to do with the S African elections which are a month away, than a boycott. Apparently he is also facing a scandal involving $20 million – not good before an election.

  5. Max Mupfunde says:

    Call these 2 lame or duck presidents but they have a point. Africa cannot have the western world dictate on who goes and doesn’t go to these summits. A lot goes on in Europe and the Leaders there are never held to account. About time Africa speaks out and take a stand.

    • Larry King says:

      The two idiotic clowns Mugabe and Zuma plus any other African dictator can join them as high up on Mount Everest and shout out their resentment of the west, no one is going to listen to these morons. The EU has every right to invite whomever it so pleases, they are the hosts and they decide what is good for their interests. Naturally they have inconsistencies on who they regard as good leaders and those that they deem bad but that is their prerogative. Not for Mugabe or Zuma to stick their dirty noses in their decision making.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        That certainly is not the way to conduct and engage with others even if the European Union is the host. The truth of the matter is you can not invite your guests and tell them to come to your house without putting on their clothes and expect your guests to accept the invitation. All people be it in Europe, the Americas, Australasia, Asia and Africa have their belief systems, values and norms which they consider religiously. They want to be respected and treated humanely, with dignity and respect.
        The majority of countries in the European Union still have the hangover of the last century when they used to call the shots on the African continent and still dream they have the leverage to push our leaders around. Quite frankly, the African continent and its leadership has evolved and now want to be considered as an equal partner with anyone that wants to engage with it, be it on politics or economic terms.
        It acceptable the European Union invited the African continent to its summit. They have the right to invite anybody they like. They can go ahead with their summit with those African leaders who want to participate in this summit. But those who have voiced their concerns about participating in this summit for whatever reason, should be allowed that space and stay at their homes quietly. They are not imposing their will on the European Union. They have taken their principled stance on what they believe is right and let us leave them alone. Any invitation can either be accepted or rejected. These two statesmen have made their point clear and should be respected for their well informed position. Ok my pikinini?

        • Larry King says:

          Have you ever had visitors come to your house naked? So what are you talking about when you use this clumsy analogy of the EU not extending an invitation to Grace Mugabe at a conference that has no place for her. Your First Lady so called, was not snubbed she was simply not wanted in Brussels and she is not wanted anywhere in Europe or in the USA.

          Talking about equality lets begin at home here in Zimbabwe. Your royal highness Grace Mugabe, is she anyway close to being equal to every man, woman or child in Zimbabwe. The answer is an emphatic NO. She does her shopping at the most expensive stores overseas, lives lavishly in an opulent “castle” and has access to unlimited amounts of US$. Compare this with 13 million under nourished Zimbabweans for whom a cup of tea is a luxury.

          All you do is indulge in “pikinini” politics, this is what you are paid to do. I have more years in life with much more experience than you will wish for. Your defense of Zuma and Mugabe for not wanting to be in Brussels is shallow because these two clowns do not appreciate what is good for their people. But you know the S Africans will be present in Brussels because it realizes the consequences for siding with Mugabe who in any event has no legitimacy.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            There is no need to argue over this Larry King. Mugabe and Zuma have told us their principled stance in this matter. We also know the position of the European Union which is at variance with the African statesmen. Quite clearly, there is bound to be a stalemate if no side is prepared to change position as what appears to be the case here. Let us wait and see.

  6. Yepec says:

    As much as the two men have disgraced their countries with acts of corruption, are there any other worse things that could be expected from them? They are distracting the attention of the people by boycotting the EU -AU trade talks which have the effect of immediately lifting the sanctions on Zimbabwe. After all, it is Mugabe and his Zanu PF Party, that are crying and pleading on the lifting of the targeted sanctions.

    Zuma has been quick to learn from Mugabe that he, also, can transform his KwaZulu – Natal compound into a palace at the expense of the State. After all, Mugabe even built a palace near Durban without the Council’s permission in Zuma’s own backyard – Mugabe’s continuous efforts at exporting corruption.

    Next time Mugabe complains about the EU targeted sanctions or makes Zimbabweans sign a petition, they must tell him that he lost a golden opportunity of having the sanctions lifted when he boycotted the trade talks. Grace could not and cannot practically contribute anything in these talks except to going on her famous,shopping sprees?

    Now that Bona is nolonger in Hong Kong, Mugabe will have to come up with a new reason for hijacking Air Zimbabwe planes to the Far East as it is understood that he does not want to bring his health issue to the attention of Zimbabweans..

  7. zimbo says:

    why don`t they have this meeting in Africa then there would be no problem with visas,ho forgot no shops for grace to spend

  8. toussant50 says:

    His backyard is burning, wouldn’t be to clever to be away from SA now! The Brutuses are plotting!

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