ZIMBABWE – There has predictably been considerable contention around the issue of Zimbabwe’s attendance at the EU-Africa summit following the denial of a visa to Mrs Grace Mugabe.
Some sharp discourse has emerged from the battle for hearts and minds.
“It is 100% wrong for the President not to attend the meeting just because his wife is not invited,” MDC Matabeleland South chairperson Pilate Ndebele said. “He took an oath to represent the people of Zimbabwe, not his wife or family.
“The President should put his country and people first, to use the opportunity to improve relations between Zimbabwe and the EU, especially convincing investors to come and invest here.”
Perhaps the most astringent remarks came from MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora who said: “To hold Zimbabwe to ransom simply because (the First Lady) Grace Mugabe cannot attend the summit is the worst form of sabotage for one’s country.”
Indeed, but perhaps we are all missing a point here. The EU is very simply holding Zimbabwe to commitments made in 2002 when the Zanu PF government was accused of manipulating electoral procedures and using political violence.
This year according to press reports, Grace has seized property in Mazoe in a move which EU governments believe is damaging to business in Zimbabwe.
One of those businesses, Interfresh, is in dire straits as a result.
So in all seriousness, how can a president of a country boycott a crucial international summit because of a quarrel over his wife’s travel visa. Is Mugabe now hostage to Grace as Louis XVI was to Marie Antoinette?
If he is, he must read history about Marie’s disastrous influence on her husband’s rule. After all what did our shopaholic First Lady want to do in Brussels besides, of course, embarking on extravagant shopping sprees (a manifestation of compulsive buying disorder) and tasteless expenditures and consumption — as we saw at her daughter’s wedding — like Marie?AllAfrica
At the same time, other farms and properties have been grabbed by President Robert Mugabe’s associates in pursuit of a policy that is both racially inspired and destructive. That is not a policy that is likely to endear the country to EU member states. AllAfrica