Amid unrest, Mugabe leaves for E Guinea

HARARE - Globe-trotting President Robert Mugabe is leaving on a two-day trip to Equatorial Guinea amid planned anti-government opposition protests this week as economic conditions worsen back home and social tensions rise.

Mugabe, 92, will attend the IV Africa-Arab World Summit at the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo that will be hosted by the nonagenarian’s key ally Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo — the longest serving world leader.

Cabinet, which usually sits on Tuesday, was forced to convene yesterday to accommodate his travel itinerary.

The presidential spokesman yesterday declined to speak on the trip.

“Handizvizivi, iwe unenge unoziva kudarika vari kuenda vacho (I know nothing, you seem to know more about the trip than those travelling there),” George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesperson, told the Daily News by phone.

A senior Cabinet minister, however, said it would be “irresponsible” for Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, to miss summits that are important for Zimbabwe to secure “handsome investments.”

The iron-fisted Mbasogo has said the summit will discuss the enhancement of investment opportunities, cross-border infrastructure development, the role of transportation and logistics in promoting Africa-Arab trade and boosting investment between oil-rich Gulf States and investment-thirsty African states.

It will feature keynote speakers from the African Union, the Arab League, as well as Finance and Economy ministers from attending nations.

Critics have scoffed at Mugabe’s decision to carry on with the trip, saying it “shows the lack of interest in confronting the grave economic crisis and human rights situation in Zimbabwe”.

Mugabe was last week among 30 African heads of State and government that met in Marrakesh in Morocco for the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This comes as Zimbabwe’s most prominent opposition parties have called for anti government demonstrations on Wednesday, boosting the likelihood of a new wave of protests amid a State crackdown and allegations of rights abuses.

Some residents said they feared a return of violence that plagued the country earlier this year.

This comes as another protest by pro-democracy civil society groups fizzled out last Friday after the alleged abduction of at least six anti-government activists ahead of the planned protest.

But now, with the country facing growing hardships due to an economic recession and biting liquidity crunch, as banks have run out of greenbacks and resulting in further cuts of amounts dispensed to customers, the opposition parties uniting under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda have said the time has come for the opposition to unite and take to the streets.

Western embassies have expressed concern about the ruthless quashing of demonstrations, escalation of hostilities and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly.

They urged all parties to refrain from violence and intimidation and launch a criminal probe into the abduction of the activists.

Government has called Mugabe’s continuing trips a success, citing some pledged billions in Chinese aid and several promises of billions more in additional financing from multilateral financial institutions.

But the government has given few concrete details about the aid, and analysts have said it is unlikely to change the underlying troubles. Many economists have expressed worry that Zimbabwe is increasingly defaulting on its foreign debt, precluding it from financial aid.

Mugabe’s administration insists the country’s problems stem from a so-called “economic war” waged by his enemies seeking to destabilise the government and that Zimbabwe is a victim of vilification backed by the United States and the European Union.

But the opposition laughs off the veteran politician’s defence, saying the president is looking to deflect responsibility for economic mismanagement.

Comments (8)

Its quite sad that at a time Zimbabwe is reeling under severe financial challenges, all are required to cut back except Mugabe. With severe power load shedding looming due to shortage of funds, Mugabe gallavants around the world with extremely blotted delegations as if that money grows on trees. One wonders how he prioritises issues because this is not the time to spend the hard earned money on useless trips such as this one. This shows that Mugabe does not care a hoot about Zimbabwe and the people, but about himself. This shows how selfish ho is, and how stupid those that support him are. This is a disgrace!!!! SHAME!!!!

MR COOPER - 22 November 2016

I wish for a president who can,just for once,comment on GDP.A president who knows how to read the economics numbers.Because va Mugabe is old.GDP sounds Greek to him.His comminist training on the purpose of economy to a country is our undoing.The man actually believes economy must be suppresd in order to to get all citizens reliant on state.He will take millionairs as enermies of state.The idea that millionairs can help create employment is not a good idea to him.The old Chinese trained him on this.Now those chinese are gone ,replaced by modern chinese who have improved their economy bt old mugabe is still stuck wth their old policies.Shame on yu Zanu men.This day ,this time ,this is the man leading the revolution to prosperity?

viola gwena - 23 November 2016

Selfish,self-centred.At his age,why not delegate one of his deputies? Zvinonyanyawo kani. Mwari tibatsirei

Tahir Iqbal - 23 November 2016

Lots of pple have wondered why these trips.He even goes to those that even ministers will shun.But he will go ,regardless of the importance to the country.The mere reason is that he gets a large chunk of finance allowances in hard currency .Biti knows the figure for each trip.This allowance is the motive ,nothing else.This is the tyme he actually says he is working for his family.The other thing is just the love of flying.Those older will remember way back in 1998, he was in Zim for 2 months only.Flying to everywhere.That same yr the Bitish government ,fed up wth his countless visits to London for Harrods shopping, decided not to give him a state welcome .Instead of the usual welcoming party they sent one messenger wth a small paper on it scribled a phone number for Mugabe n party to phone if they need any assistance.It was so embarrasing.Moi arrived emidiately after Mugabe at Heathrow and was accorded the highest Brittish reception befitting a head of state,while Pres Mugabe watched the other side.Sad.Harrods was a monthly destination .Shopping.Harrods used to make all shoppers leave for him bt eventually he clashed wth MJ ,who was given bigger reception than pres.

viola gwena - 23 November 2016

Why am I saying this? Its for us all citizens to know how far back our leader has been humiliating himself by overstaying and love of luxuries.There are those in the party that want him to contest in 2018 and 2023,for what purpose.?Your purpose or country?It is not too late for country to have normalcy back into leadership.We want jobs,jobs,jobs.Mr Mugabe is old,way too old .He worked wth the likes of Daniel arap Moi,Thatcher,Reagan,P W Botha,Seretse Khama .All leaders sme not even known by our generation.Mandela came and went ages ago.We still have our 92 yr old leader talkng of running for president against the likes of Biti,Chamisa ,and company,kids.Where is the shame.Is it arrogance or shameless.?What does he expect the yungsters in zanu ,to look at,when he struggles to standup at forums.His appearence is not attractive at all,especially when he stands next to Zuma or khama.Its a shame.

viola gwena - 23 November 2016

This is real sad tete ,if its true.Can anyone second this story Viola.Because if its true then our opposition need you to dig up these sad issues for them.How come Biti has never made an issue out of this.I thot Harrods is for super rich people ,how did Mugabe find himself there?Im not doubting your stories being 35 yrs old ,i mite have missed it.But most of your stories are true ,except your reluctance to tell us on ngwena.How good is he

ali waziri - 23 November 2016

mudhara uyu anofarira zvekungonorara nekuenda kutoilet kune dzimwe nyika odzoka hake asi

Donato - 23 November 2016

He loves all these lavish things because he has a wife who loves to indulge in these trips for shopping and all the things that are lavish

JWE - 23 November 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.