HARARE - Zimbabwe's jet-setting President Robert Mugabe has been forced to head back home from India where he had flown for a low-key “cultural festival”, which his Indian counterpart and host President Pranab Mukherjee is not even attending.
“...Mugabe has called off his engagement in India where he was scheduled to be guest of honour at the World Culture Festival,” his spokesperson George Charamba said yesterday.
In addition to his tribulations, if not an outright difficult outing to New Delhi the last time, the Daily News had reported yesterday that there are no other big names attending this controversial bash.
The Indian President’s office did not say why Mukherjee, who was to preside over the valedictory function, had opted out.
Charamba said: “The cancellation follows communication from organisers of the festival acknowledging substantial inadequacies in protocol and security arrangements around the event.
“A number of leaders slotted for participation, including those from the host country, have also withdrawn their participation.”
Mugabe is expected back home in a couple of days, according to Charamba. It is not clear why the increasingly-frail 92-year-old — who has lately been walking with the aid of his wife Grace — insisted on travelling for the mundane event, which was organised to mark the 35th anniversary of the Art of Living and is being billed as the “biggest ever festival of music and dance”.
Advertisements said 35 973 artists were billed to perform at the event.