today's Pick
Mugabe shuns EU-Africa talks after wife denied visaPublish Date: Mar 30, 2014
Mugabe shuns EU-Africa talks after wife denied visa
  • mail
  • img
Zimbabwes president Robert Mugabe (L) and his wife Grace Mugabe (R) leave the conference venue during the opening day of Zimbabwes ruling Zanu-PF party annual conference in Chinhoyi on December 13, 2013. PHOTO/AFP
newvision

HARARE - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will boycott next week's mammoth EU-Africa summit after his wife was denied a visa to enter Europe, a foreign ministry official said on Friday.

"We are no longer going to the EU-Africa. We disagreed on the composition of our delegation," said a source at the ministry, who asked not to be named.

Harare had earlier on Friday urged the African Union to shun the summit for failing to invite all the Africa bloc's leaders and lift a ban on Zimbabwe's first lady.

But diplomats in Brussels were unfazed by the call for a boycott by a country that is in the line to chair the African Union next year.

"We see no risk" of a boycott of the April 2-3 summit, which gathers 90 nations from both continents, including 65 heads of state and government, said a senior official speaking on condition of anonymity.

In Harare, foreign ministry spokesman Joey Bimha said the European Union had not invited Sudan and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which does not have international recognition, while Egypt, which has been suspended from the AU, had been given the nod.

Another concern is "the issue of our first lady who was denied a visa," Bimha told AFP, referring to Mugabe's wife, Grace.

Mugabe and his wife remain targeted by an EU travel ban but the restriction can be suspended temporarily to allow the head of state to attend international forums.

"We have been discussing this for some time. We have reached agreement and Zimbabwe has been invited but no spouses have been invited," the EU official said.


President Mugabe greets supporters alongside his wife Grace after his address at a rally in Harare last year. PHOTO/AFP

The EU ambassador to Harare, Aldo Dell'Ariccia, said when Zimbabwe asked for a visa for Mugabe's wife "they were told she should apply through the normal channels".

"The EU is just following it's legal framework and there can't be any movement from that position," said Dell'Ariccia.

Mugabe's spokesman on Tuesday said the EU's decision was "very strange".

"What God has put together the EU is trying to separate," said George Charamba in the state controlled daily, The Herald. "Do they expect the President to respect the EU and disrespect his own marriage?"

Rushweat Mukundu of the political think-tank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute said the row is just "a symptom of poisoned relations" between Zimbabwe and the EU, "and old wounds that are proving difficult to heal."

Both sides should have taken "a sober approach" to resolving their long standing differences, suggested Mukundu.

The EU has also refused to invite Sudan, although the Brussels official said the African Union was free to invite its president, Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir is wanted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide related to the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Mugabe was in January elected one of the two deputy chairmen of the African Union, and he will automatically chair the organisation next year

AFP


RELATED STORIES

President Mugabe spends 90th birthday in Singapore

Africa's oldest ruler eyes 'grand' inauguration

Zimbabwe votes on curbs to president's power

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
8 pupils struck dead by lightning in Bushenyi
THE shocking incident happened at 4:45 PM during a simple drizzle, as the pupils were in class for evening lessons at the school...
Makerere agrees to clear staff allowances
Makerere University has agreed to pay staff allowance arrears for the month of May, amounting to sh3.7b....
Govt to pay all salary arrears by September
THE Secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi has promised that all salary arrears for civil servants will be paid by September...
Air Algerie said it lost contact with one of its passenger aircraft nearly an hour after takeoff from Burkina Faso on Thursday bound for Algiers....
URA to collect tax on rented houses, properties
Uganda Revenue Authority has revealed that it will soon begin collecting tax on all rental houses and properties within urban areas....
Doctors remove 232 teeth from boy
Doctors in a hospital in India have removed as many as 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter