Zim bigger than Grace

HARARE - It seems confirmed that President Robert Mugabe is going to boycott the EU-Africa summit set for Brussels, Belgium.

Apparently, Mugabe is taking a “principled” stance because some African countries have been excluded from the meeting.

South African President Jacob Zuma has also pointed out that the EU should not decide on the composition of the African delegation. “I thought the AU and EU are equal organisations representing two continents but there is not a single one of them who must decide for others.”

But the Europeans have been “clever” enough to couch the meeting as the EU-Africa, and not the EU-AU summit. As such, the EU has given itself latitude to invite individual African countries of its choice, not necessarily all members of the AU.

It did not invite Eritrea and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, both members of the AU, for unexplained reasons. But the major reason for Mugabe’s “principled” stance, is the exclusion of his wife, Grace. While Mugabe has been invited, the First Lady has been denied a visa. “What God has put together the EU is trying to separate,” said Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba. “Do they expect the president to respect the EU and disrespect his own marriage?”

The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia has stated that spouses have no role at the summit and Grace has no business at the meeting.

It is all farcical. The issuance of a one-off visa to Grace would not prejudice the EU.

Nonetheless, the suggestion that Grace’s exclusion and Mugabe’s absence for two or three days amounts to an affront to the president’s marriage should be taken for the melodramatic exaggeration that it is.

The summit is set for 2-3 April. The visa saga reduces a significant opportunity to remedy international relations to parochial and frivolous interests.

One of the priorities for Zimbabwe ought to re-engage with the international community after years of isolation.

The EU-Africa Summit is one opportunity towards rejoining the community of nations.

The summit provides Mugabe with a chance to put his case for Zimbabwe’s re-engagement. The benefits of re-engagement accrue to citizens through investment, jobs and so on.

By attending the summit, Mugabe will, therefore, be acting in the national interests.

The visa saga, thus, sacrifices these broader interests on the altar of overly-dramatised concerns.

It ought to be remembered that, as chief executive officer of this country, Mugabe would be going to Brussels to “work” — part of the mandate he was given, put aside the electoral controversy — unless he and his wife want to turn the visit into a holiday.

Ordinarily, CEOs do not have the pleasure of taking their wives on business trips; and if they do, the practice if often frowned upon. Such brief separations hardly result in marital breakdowns. Similarly, Grace has no business in Brussels.

But she can have “business” here for the days Mugabe will be away, that is, if the president decides to attend.

Early February, thousands of people were evacuated after torrential rains occasioned the partial collapse of the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, reportedly now planning a belated visit, also missed an opportunity to show an empathetic side his main opponent has failed to demonstrate other than declaring it a national disaster.

Grace can, for a day, swap the comforts of State House or Borrowdale for the none-visa-requiring Chingwizi.

First Ladies, touted as mothers of nations, should embody maternal and humanistic qualities often lost in the dust of the often-patriarchal cut-throat politics.

Grace was prepared to travel to places to offer goods to people during her husband’s campaign rallies before the July election.

To many, this was blatant vote-buying so she could secure another stint in the State House.

It becomes quite crass that she is now the subject of dispute over her travel to glitzy cities of Europe: now ensconced in the State House again, she can’t visit the less glamorous places like Chingwizi anymore.

Comments (21)

We know Zuma is sending a delegation, is there a delegation coming from Zim also? If so, then we have nothing to worry about. At least we won't be embarassed as a nation when our leader starts shouting at other progressive leaders in between dosing off .

Dr Know - 1 April 2014

The EU's foreign policy on Zimbabwe is embarrassing to itself no end. How do you invite a guy to the meeting and then bar his wife? This is pettyness writ large! And what benefit is going to accrue from this move other than that the EU will continue to be viewed as a bunch of racist idiots who still feel they can and must dictate to Africa? What the Africans would like the EU to assist them with is publishing and closing the accounts of head of state thieves who call the EU names while banking their ill gotten gainss there. Why would they invite Morrocco and Egypt, two countries run by usurpers? And explain to me what people like Sassou Nguessou are doing at the gathering..then you have the murderer in Equatorial Guinea.. You have vampire monarch's like the King in Lesotho and others..That Silva Kiir who flattered to deceive has no business at the EU one bit.The EU's fixation with a tiny poor country like Zimbabwe is a sham! reading this you truly wonder whether the EU is serious about what it is doing to itself with these ill thought out decisions. If they were truly friends of Zimbabweans in the street they would know by now these idiotic sanctions are milked no end by that vacant office of the Foreign Ministry in the land. But looking at it from another standpoint Zimbabwe also does get carried away at times what did they hope to benefit by denying them opportunity to observe elections last year. When you think of it on another plane..the EU and Zimbabwe deserve each other with their petty childishness.

gutter poet - 1 April 2014

Apologies..the vampire Monarch is in Swaziland and not Lesotho..Apologies all round!

gutter poet - 1 April 2014

Iwe gutter which part of this statement you and the zanus don't understand; The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell'Ariccia has stated that spouses have no role at the summit and Grace has no business at the meeting. tell the nation who is the head of state in Zimbabwe? I guess you would say disgrace. Mugabe's job is to serve the nation of Zimbabwe, not his stupid wife. Madofo evanhu,

kt - 1 April 2014

Believing that Mr. Zuma cancelled the EU trip because of some solidarity nonsense is stretching things too far. Zuma would rather be dancing more so now with an election on the road where he can do this to his heart's content..He is at his best when he is under attack like now with the Nkandlagate..I dont know when people will learn these charges are the stuff that keeps him alive so why should he waste his time in the cold of Europe when he can be demonstrating his mastery at dancing at rallies and around his opponents..Just watch how he relishes the prospect do go boogie! Now that the Nkandla gate story is out in the open and an election a heartbeat away just watch the master at work and be overawed..In the poem Ozymandias there is line that says.." Look at me and be overawed" or words to this effect. This describes Zuma when he is at his best: dancing!

gutter poet - 1 April 2014

The bitch wants to go shopping. This time wamama. Stealing our monies to eat by your family never. Other african leaders are going. U ARE OF NO VALUE, U REACHED YOUR SELL-BY DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chamvari - 1 April 2014

Culture is very important and runs in every person's blood. What happened concerning Amai is a test of our culture. Culture can never be ignored. This is our true identity. Our mother can never be ridiculed by foreigners right in our eyes and we keep quiet. NEVER!! Let EU and all other KNOW and RESPECT that! No matter what she is not good at, she is our woman, our mother, our representation and our identity. Like her or hate her, stand by her in all national issues!!

Amai vaBaba ndiAmai chete! - 2 April 2014

Weduwe maida kuti aende asina munhu anomira naye imi hamuoniwo here kuti hazvichanyatsoiti kuti munhu wezera iri aachadi kufamba ega here uyu. Taitozonyara werse makagona va RG

Zvidya - 2 April 2014

Reading between the lines, it appears Grace plays a bigger role in Mugabe the human being and Mugabe the President, than just being the First Lady. What that role is:Your guess is a good as mine. Otherwise I really find no compelling reason why an elected Head of State would fail to carry out a national duty just on the grounds that his wife was denied a visa. Shit. It also shows that Mugabe is not accountable to anyone, not even the electorate. On the lighter side, I concur with those who said his refusal to attend is a blessing in disguise

WeDande - 2 April 2014

Business or pleasure ? I sign off

joker - 2 April 2014

Many of Africa's presidents went, without their spouses. If they did, the spouses applied for visas via normal channels, not through the summit. The meeting goes ahead without Mugabe, and noone there, including African heads of states give a damn! Who cares about a demented 90 yr old when they are planning about the future. He wont be there in the near futiure anyway, and cares little about anyone's future. He is a self centred goat! Africa refused to listen to his stupidity trying to make them boycot a useful meeting to purudzira a 90 yr old goat's ego!

Tongogara - 2 April 2014

DisGrace please stay at home & do a bit of work so the NATION can smile.It will even be great for your GREAT hus band.

Shame - 2 April 2014

To be fair, Mugabe is 90 years old. Where would he go without his confidante, first nurse and personal everything?

Che Guevara - 2 April 2014

You are right but wrong" gutter poet". Its not Zimbabwe that deserves the EU. Its ZANUpf and the EU that deserve each other. Zimbabwe deserves neither of them.

Kufakwejeyi - 2 April 2014

Gutter poet, u sound like a spokes person from a certain higher office. Sorry that your madam was denied a visa, but all the same personally i am happy that the president has cancelled that trip, he was going to doze off during the entire summit. Atleast the money meant to be spent in Brussels by an entourage of self serving cohorts has been saved in the already bleeding nation financial bucket. This time no travelling around Mr president, infact I say lets us all stay home and find a permanent solution to the current state of economic emergency......

muchirahondo - 2 April 2014

hey hey dnt u knw kuti its normal murume hahagari asina mudzimai wake for long , thus pincipled i love that bob it mkes sense u cnt leave grace ,its marriage instituted by the above, EVEN IF T COSTS THE COUNTRY

kaliphi kitiwe - 2 April 2014

Kana muchiti he is being irrational kochashamisa nevisa chinyi , they did the same to kenya and changed all of a sudden , its just visa

kaliphi kitiwe - 2 April 2014

She wasn't going as a spouse. She was in it as Co-President of the Republic. Nothing would be discussed without her. Of course the real decisions would have been made under the blankets of the Brussels hotel. kkkkkkkkk kkkkkkk kkkkk zvinotoba Zobha!!!!

Tich Marufu - 2 April 2014

If this had been done by Morgan, there would have been an outcry from zpf. Jono would have frothed controllably. This is Zim

Rosletta Munhu - 2 April 2014

Europe's big brother attitude should never be tolerated. Its not about Grace but African pride, thumps up Bob

kollen - 4 April 2014

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