ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe is well and has successfully completed his mission at the just-ended India-Africa Summit Forum, despite private media reports insinuating that he has health problems, presidential spokesperson George Charamba has said.
Dismissing stories doing the rounds in the private media and social media that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped President Mugabe to “break a fall” on Thursday, Charamba said only fault finders would spend a second on such an incident.
“It’s a very minor incident in a big heroic act and only fault finders will spend a second on it,” he said. “President Mugabe is well and has accomplished his mission. He’s due in the country at the weekend.”
President Mugabe appeared to stumble slightly as he walked towards Prime Minister Modi who was welcoming him to the summit and did not require a helping hand since he remained steadfast on his feet.
After the much-hyped incident, President Mugabe went on to deliver his keynote address as the co-chairperson of the India-Africa Forum Summit where he called for United Nations reforms, saying the current scenario recognises other nations as giants, while others were seen as dwarfs.
President Mugabe actively participated at the summit’s closing ceremony last night where, together with Prime Minister Modi and African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, he unveiled commemorative stamps and coins of the summit before thousands of delegates.
President Mugabe continued with his busy schedules by having closed door meetings with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo and South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi yesterday described the summit as highly successful, with Zimbabwe set to benefit from the $10 billion credit facility availed to Africa by the Asian country.
In an interview here, Minister Mumbengegwi said the country was set to benefit in many areas because of the good rapport created between President Mugabe and Indian Prime Minister Modi during their bilateral talks held on Wednesday.
“President Mugabe and Prime Minister Modi had a very good meeting on Wednesday and as a country we stand to benefit from the $10 billion line of credit facility availed to Africa by India,” he said. “We’ve strong ties with India.
“We’ll be looking into areas of energy, agriculture and infrastructure development. Although money has been availed for the refurbishment of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station through the Export-Import Bank of India, plans are also underway to ensure the refurbishment of the Harare Thermal Power Station.”
Minister Mumbengegwi said the credit facility would also cover education and health, which were placed on the list of priorities.
He added his voice on the calls for United Nations reforms to ensure an even playing field for all member States.
“We want to give the summit’s co-chairpersons, President Mugabe and Prime Minister Modi thumbs up for clearly articulating Africa and India’s positions on the United Nations reforms, especially the Security Council,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
“We had a third of the world humanity which was meeting here and surely no-one can afford to ignore that. Yes, the question of UN Security Council reforms was raised and it took centre stage during the senior officials and ministers meetings. These reforms should be accelerated because we can’t continue living in the world of 70 years ago.
“Some countries that were viewed as more important than others have lost that clout. We now need a restructuring of the entire United Nations governance system, especially the Security Council. Surely Africa, India and Brazil deserve to have seats in the Security Council. India and Africa should speak with one voice on this important issue because our positions aren’t different.”
On Morocco’s participation at the summit as the only non African Union member, Minister Mumbengegwi said the North African country was invited by India.
Morocco is condemned by most African countries for annexing Western Sahara also known as The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, a move which is viewed as continuation of colonialism by a fellow African State.
“The issue of Morocco was a bit problematic because remember it was an India-Africa Summit, the same as the China-Africa Summit or the European-Africa Summit where only member States are expected to attend,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
“We understand that Morocco enjoys good diplomatic relations with India, that’s why it was invited. After being invited, Morocco insisted that Western Sahara should not attend and this led to the exclusion of the country.
“The issue of continuous colonialism in Africa generated a lot of debate and we spent quite a great deal of time on it. A single sentence reading: ‘Calling upon the end of colonialism in the world’ generated a lot of debate. Some countries objected saying it should be removed from our resolutions. The question of colonialism is fundamental and there is no way we can condone it.” herald.