Mugabe in South Africa for first state visit in 20 years

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe visited South Africa on Wednesday in his first state trip to the country since 1994 as he seeks to drum up foreign investment to revive his nation’s moribund economy.

Mugabe, 91, who was accompanied by his wife Grace, has visited South Africa regularly in the past but his two-day stay will be his first official state visit in 21 years.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn for more than a decade due to low growth, low liquidity and high unemployment.

In March, the International Monetary Fund said that the country faced a “difficult” economic outlook with growth set to weaken again this year.

Late last year the Zimbabwean finance minister led a team of officials on a visit to South Africa to try to convince potential investors that the country was finally on the mend.

The Zimbabwean officials said it was in the interest of South Africa to help grow its neighbour’s economy to stop the tide of economic refugees who have crossed the border seeking work.

Zimbabwe’s economy entered a tailspin after the launch of controversial land reforms 14 years ago. By 2008, inflation had officially peaked at 231 million percent before the government stopped counting.

The South African government said President Jacob Zuma and Mugabe would hold talks on Wednesday before a bilateral business forum scheduled for Thursday.

“The economies of the two countries are historically and inextricably linked,” it said in a statement.

“Due to its geographical proximity to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation has a direct impact on South Africa.”

Mugabe’s wife Grace is seen as one possible successor to her husband, who came to power in 1980.

Former vice-president Joice Mujuru was long considered likely to take over, but she fell out with the veteran leader late last year and was sacked in December.

Photo Credits : AFP

Mugabe turns 91 with million-dollar birthday bash

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday will celebrate his 91st birthday with a million-dollar bash attended by thousands of faithful party supporters.

As elephants are slaughtered for the feast at a luxury hotel in Zimbabwe’s famed Victoria Falls, critics are questioning the scale of the festivities, calling them “obscene” in a country where millions live in poverty.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, is the world’s oldest leader.

While he is hailed by many of his African peers as a liberation hero, critics say that over the following decades he turned the “breadbasket of southern Africa” into a basket case, trampling human rights, justice and democracy.

Mugabe’s violent seizure of white-owned farms triggered food shortages and hyper-inflation, while Europe and the United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over elections seen as rigged.

In an interview marking his birthday, Mugabe admitted he blundered by giving ill-equipped black farmers vast tracts of farmland under his controversial land reforms.

“I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can’t manage them,” Mugabe said.

He also shrugged off questions over an incident earlier this month in which he missed a step and stumbled from a podium.

“I have yet to come across to a person who has not fallen. It was a slight fall, missing a step,” Mugabe told state-controlled television.

Photo Credits : AFP

Zimbabwe suspends 27 Mugabe guards over embarrassing fall

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s fall at Harare International Airport last week made headline news and memes sprung up all over the internet.

But the unexpected result of the backlash is that Mugabe’s security guards received suspension letters over the incident last Friday.

According to a, sources said up to 27 members of the presidential security and advance team have been suspended.

Officials said an investigation was launched on the night that Mugabe fell, but Presidential spokesperson George Charamba dismissed reports of a shakeup in President Mugabe’s security team.

Another official said the fall was a serious matter that had to be dealt with thoroughly.

“There are many departments that are being investigated, from Air Zimbabwe, the advance team and the security. I doubt if some of them will come back,” said the official close to the developments.

“The issue here is simple. The security team was caught napping.


President Mugabe’s fall elicits funny memes on social media

After President Mugabe fell down yesterday on a stairway, the social media scene went wild with memes mimicking the Zimbabwean president.

It is has also been reported that his security detail had asked photographers to delete the photos, but being a digital world some were leaked out and used to create memes.

Here are some of them.

fall mugabe4

fall mugabe3

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fall mugabe


Mugabe says Africa must pull out of the ICC, Uhuru pledges a Sh92 million for African Court

The new African Union chairman Robert Mugabe said Saturday that Africa must pull out of the International Criminal Court. It must be on the agenda of next AU Summit in June in South Africa, said Mugabe who is also the President of Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe spoke during the closing ceremony of the 24th AU summit which ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday.

Mugabe proposal came on the heels of yet another initiative by the AU member states to establish an African Court of Justice and Human Rights to handle African cases currently referred to the ICC , at the Hague, Netherlands.

President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier said the establishment of the proposed African Court of Justice and Human Rights is now unstoppable and announced Kenya’s commitment of Sh92 million for the new judicial institution.

The President said Africa is poised to establish a broader African transitional justice policy framework and an African Court of Justice to handle all criminal cases from Africa currently referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands.

The Head of State said he has already signed the Malabo Protocol on the African Court before the necessary instruments are transmitted to parliament for ratification.


African Union ‘mixed signals’ as Mugabe tipped for top job

African leaders are expected Friday to elect Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to the 54-member African Union’s rotating chair, a choice critics say risks tarnishing the organisation’s reputation.

Mugabe, who aged 90 is Africa’s oldest leader, is widely expected to be anointed as successor to Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz at the start of the two-day AU summit meeting in the Ethiopian capital.

But the veteran president has a different reputation outside the continent, and is subject to travel bans from both the United States and European Union, in place since 2002 in protest at political violence and intimidation.

Mugabe, a former guerilla leader who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, is accused of crushing opponents to ensure his ZANU-PF party won every election for more than three decades.

Last year Mugabe boycotted an EU-Africa Summit in Brussels after he was given a rare invitation — but his wife was still denied a visa.

But several African diplomats are also uneasy.

“It’s not a very encouraging sign,” sighed one African diplomat, who asked not to be identified. “The Mugabe style belongs to a past generation, the one that takes power hostage, and this is no longer the AU creed.”

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — who heads the executive branch that directs day-to-day work — launched the summit earlier this week highlighting “democracy, good governance and human rights” as core goals of the bloc.

But her deputy Erastus Mwencha, has defended the right to choose any leader.

“Who am I to say to the people, you have elected the wrong leader?” Mwencha said.

“The people have chosen: the important thing is that you must follow the constitution of your country.”

– ‘Unfortunate’ choice –

Although the post of AU chair is largely symbolic, civil rights groups are worried as to the image it will give to the organisation.

“This will send mixed signals and an extremely awkward message on international levels on how the AU stands on principles of democracy and good governance,” said Jeggan Gey-Johnson, spokesman of the pan-African civil society coalition, The AU We Want.

It is not the first time an autocratic leader would take the AU’s top post.

“There is a trend that has been going for several years of leaders chosen to represent the AU at the highest level who don’t espouse the core principles of the organisation,” Gey-Johnson added.

The previous chair, Mauritania’s Abdel Aziz, became the north African country’s president in 2009 after leading two coups in four years.

In the corridors of AU headquarters, diplomats say the choice of Mugabe is an “unfortunate accident” resulting from the tradition of rotating the post among Africa’s regions.

The AU has faced previous controversial choices before.

In 2007, the AU was deeply divided over the candidacy of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, while civil war raged in the western region of Darfur.

Ghana’s John Kufor finally took the post, on the grounds that the country was celebrating 50 years of independence.

Some civil society groups also objected when Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi — who heavily bankrolled the AU — took the post in 2009, and in 2011 when Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Africa’s second longest serving leader, was named.

But Mugabe also has also much support from many African leaders, who view with deep respect the former liberation war hero, the continent’s third-longest serving leader.

“The AU did not contest his election in 2013,” said Solomon Dersso of the Institute for Security Studies, an African think tank.

“Mugabe is a legitimate president, and if his people accepted his election, the AU has no reason to have a problem with his election.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Mugabe fires more cabinet ministers

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has fired two cabinet ministers and five deputy ministers, the presidency announced late Sunday, in an apparent purge targeting allies of his former deputy Joice Mujuru.

The move came after months of political upheaval in Zimbabwe over the succession to 90-year-old Mugabe when he dies or steps down.

Mugabe, who is currently holidaying in Asia, dismissed Flora Buka, minister of state for presidential affairs and Sylvester Nguni, minister of state in the office of the vice president, saying “their conduct and performance were below expected standards”, according to a presidency statement.

The two were seen as allies of former vice president Mujuru, who was dismissed two weeks ago along with seven cabinet ministers and a deputy minister.

Five deputy ministers — for health, justice, rural affairs, work and transport — were also dismissed on Sunday.

Once seen as favourite to step into Mugabe’s shoes, Mujuru has since come under constant attack, notably from Mugabe’s increasingly powerful wife Grace.

Mujuru has been accused of plotting to assassinate the president, fomenting factional divisions in the ruling party, and of dodgy business dealings.

Mujuru was replaced as vice president by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-time ally of Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe is a senile president, says Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday described longtime leader Robert Mugabe as “a senile president with a vituperative wife”.

In an end-of-year statement, Tsvangirai urged Zimbabweans to pray for Mugabe, 90, “so that he understands the enormity of the national plight”.

The Movement for Democratic Change leader said that Zimbabweans were “living under a heavy cloud of despondency” as job losses and company closures mounted.

He offered an apology for his party’s underachievement during the four years of the previous coalition government, claiming that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF “stood in the way of everything progressive”.

Tsvangirai has had a difficult 2014 following his loss to Mugabe in elections last year.

The former trade unionist’s MDC has split once again, with the former secretary general Tendai Biti alleging Tsvangirai had “dictatorial tendencies”.


Mugabe sacks vice president Mujuru

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has fired his deputy Joice Mujuru along with eight ministers aligned to her, days after she lost her post in the ruling party, officials said.

Mugabe sacked Mujuru, 59, on Tuesday after weeks of accusations that she had led a “treacherous cabal” to try to unseat Mugabe.

The sacked officials received their dismissal letters on Monday night, reported the Reuters news agency, citing two government sources it said declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Mugabe endorsed as Zanu-PF leader

Ninety-year-old Robert Mugabe Saturday was endorsed as president of his ruling ZANU-PF party by a party congress in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

Thousands of supporters chanted “Gushungo”, the president’s clan name, a Sapa correspondent reported. Others sang “VaMugabe”.

Mugabe, who looked grim-faced earlier in the proceedings, responded by rising to his feet inside a massive tent in central Harare and waving his

black cap. There were no challenges to the president’s position.

“Thank you so much for showing that massive…” shouted ZANU-PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo before the shouting crowds drowned him out.

There has been widespread speculation that vice president Joice Mujuru will be pushed out of her post at this congress. Analysts said that Mugabe feared she had become so popular that she could replace him at the congress.

Some of us have attractive bodies but don’t show our thighs: Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s Grace Mugabe has once again blasted Vice President Joice Mujuru for her dress sense. Mugabe took the opportunity to talk about Mujuru’s ‘inappropriate’ dress sense again while addressing cross border traders who gathered at her Mazowe Children’s Home.

“I said her dressing in front of a young man was inappropriate. I was not impressed especially for someone of her stature…That’s when I said she was inappropriately dressed, inappropriately attired. Displaying the thighs,” she said.

“In Parliament women approached me about her dressing, saying they had talked to her but she persisted… As for suggestions that she might be a woman of loose morals, I don’t think so. She seems like a chaste woman. We don’t want people who spread lies.”

“She wears mini skirts. She must change her style of dressing. Even some of us who have attractive bodies don’t wear mini skirts that show our thighs, especially in front of children. As mothers who have young growing daughters what lessons do we pass on to them? That is all I was unhappy about,” said Mugabe.



Grace Mugabe says deputy wants to kill her

Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has claimed she will be killed “Gaddafi style” by her political rival and nemesis, vice president Joice Mujuru, when her husband, President Robert Mugabe dies.

Mrs Mugabe, a former presidential typist who surprised many by launching a political career earlier this year, also called for Mrs Mujuru, who as vice-president is in pole position to take over from the ageing leader, to step down or be sacked.

“She [Joice] has been telling people that once Mugabe dies, she will draw me close to her, and my secretaries told me that she will drag me in the streets, with people laughing while my flesh sticks on the tarmac,” Mrs Mugabe told scores of women cross-border traders this week at her headquarters 15 miles west of Harare.

Ousted Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was shot by rebels in October 2011 and then dragged through a Misrata street, screaming for mercy before he died.

Mrs Mugabe added waspishly that Mrs Mujuru, the statuesque former independence fighter, has offended the nation because she has too much “cellulite.”

Her comments were the latest salvo in what many in Zimbabwe believe is her campaign to take over the presidency from her husband when he dies, not least to protect the first family’s vast assets.

Derek Matyszak, a political researcher into Zanu PF’s constitution, said Mrs Mugabe was pushing for Mrs Mujuru’s resignation because many of the approximately 1,400 delegates at next month’s Zanu-PF elective congress who are eligible to vote for the party’s new leaders support the vice-president’s re-election.

Source : Telegraph

Malawi diplomat who called Mugabe ‘idiot’ refuses Zimbabwe post

A Malawian diplomat who once reportedly described Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as an “idiot” said he had turned down a posting as his country’s top envoy to Harare.

“I am sure there are other Malawians more amenable to serving at that particular post at this particular time,” Thoko Banda said in a statement seen by AFP.

Banda’s scathing insult to neighbouring Zimbabwe’s long-serving head of state was recalled by social media, shortly after he was named as Malawi’s high commissioner (ambassador) to Zimbabwe.

Banda was widely quoted as telling Germany’s The Foreigner magazine in 2006 that “Zimbabwe has an idiot — I am sorry, I know you are recording — but they have an idiot for president.

“This guy Robert Mugabe, I hope that he lives a long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man.”


Mugabe is a ‘pastor’ anointed by God, says Grace

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is a “pastor” who constantly prays for his country, according to his wife Grace.

The First Lady made the stunning claim while addressing about 300 pastors and their wives who had visited her children’s home in Mazowe to pray for her.

Grace claimed she therefore considered herself as a “Mai Mufundisi” because her husband is a “man of God endowed with wisdom” who had been anointed from heaven.

“President Mugabe is a pastor; when he speaks, I think when you hear him speak, you can hear that he is ordained by God,” she said.

“He is a pastor. Ana Mai Mufundisi muri pano, I am one of you.”

Mugabe is a devoted Catholic. Reports say he still attends weekly Mass in Harare.

But this is the first time that he has been granted the title “pastor”.

Grace told the church leaders that Zimbabwe was extremely fortunate to have Mugabe as president.