Ministers fight over Mugabe visa

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DEPUTY Foreign Affairs minister Christopher Mutsvangwa has accused his boss Simbarashe Mumbengegwi of blundering by applying for a visa for First Lady Grace Mugabe to Belgium, which was rejected.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA
STAFF REPORTER

The First Lady, banned from travelling to Europe, wanted to accompany President Robert Mugabe to the European Union (EU)-Africa summit in Brussels, Belgium starting today.

Mugabe boycotted the summit after his wife was denied a visa with EU saying spouses of heads of State had no business at the conference.

Speaking on the ZiFM programme The Platform hosted by Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa on Monday evening, Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe fell into a trap by boycotting the EU-Africa summit because Mumbengegwi was pursuing misguided foreign policy.

The former ambassador to China said he was not party to the decision to boycott the EU-Africa summit adding that Mumbengegwi “went and convinced initially the (Zanu PF) politburo and later Cabinet; that is what I am hearing”.

He said it was undiplomatic and unprofessional to apply for a visa for the First Lady when there were indications or a possibility that she would not be granted.

“Maybe we were trying to test the waters, but why do we want to test the waters by having an embarrassment on our president?” he queried.

Mutsvangwa said it was important for Zimbabwe to attend the summit.

“It’s absolutely important; we should never let down our African brothers on this issue,” he said.

“We do not need to put Africa in an invidious position; they have been consistently with Zimbabwe on this issue.”

He said it was wrong to assume that Mugabe and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma were not attending the summit for similar reasons as the neighbouring country had special relations with EU.

“This issue is different. I think our Foreign ministry, to be very candid, is really unnecessarily pitching the level of African support too high,” he said.

“Zuma is busy campaigning, but in any event, the relationship between the EU and South Africa is very different from that one between EU and the rest of Africa.”

Mutsvangwa said he had taken issue with State media stories suggesting that Zuma had taken cue from Zimbabwe by also boycotting the summit.

“We should be modest. South Africa has 50 million people; it is a big neighbour and has a big economy,” he said.

“South Africa has stood with us; let’s not try to pose as if we are super champions of this region; that is not right for Zimbabwe; we must always work in tandem with our neighbours, respect their sensitivities; never try to claim leadership.”

Mutsvangwa went on to reveal that there were fissures in the Foreign Affairs ministry.

“There are two people there; the minister and the permanent secretary (Joey Bimha); it’s a fiefdom. They run it the way they want,” he said.

He warned that Zimbabweans should not have an all or nothing approach to diplomacy.

“We simply have a misguided foreign policy. The major practitioner of that foreign policy is missing the woods from the trees; that’s my boss,” Mutsvangwa said.

“I do not agree with him and I stand for what will be in the interest of Zimbabwe.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Varungu munoti hamuvadi,asi morwadziwa vakurambai kunyika dzavo.Siyanayi navo.Lets go kunyika dzirikumabude zuva.

  2. Sanity from you sir! What input was that woman going to add there in the first place apart from blowing state money that we citizens pay taxes for. These people forget that the life they lead is funded by us hardworking folk plus the other money and resources they steal from us. The arrogance of the president and his zanu people living large would make you think that all the citizens are feasting on milk and honey, yet we are barely scrapping through each and everyday.

  3. kumwe kudyiswa kunozonyanyawo. zvido zveZimbabwe pasi tsve toita zvaGRACE iyo nyika yakachoboka

  4. Cds i believe we lack priorities in our nation.now its time to reingage the west because our economy is in a coma.The best thing to do was to attend the summit and do a bit of networking.right now we have lost the opportunity to do so because of a certain reason……let us bare with the suffering zimbabweans my fellow cdes

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