African Leaders Snub Mugabe Installation

By Peter Bolder|
Africa’s most powerful heads failed to show up at Robert Mugabe’s controversial inauguration as Zimbabwe’s president Thursday, it emerged. Zanu PF insiders said up to 40 African leaders had been invited but only three came, signalling their displeasure with Mugabe’s alleged rigging, according to regional observers.
SADC chairperson Joyce Banda bunked the low-key event, and so did South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, the region’s point man on the collapsed Zimbabwe mediation.
Heads of Zimbabwe’s largest continental trading partners, Zambia, Botswana, Nigeria and Kenya also ignored the event, with some sending low-ranking officials.
Only the Namibian and Mozambican presidents graced the event, along with D.R.Congo’s Joseph Kabila, with whom the Mugabe regime has been involved in dirty diamond and timber deals condemned by the U.N. The presence of the three was seized on by ZBC, which claimed it was an “endorsement of the whole process”.
The MDC boycotted the inauguration, claiming the vote was rigged.
Western officials also shunned it. The US government extended sanctions on the longtime dictator and his crew this week.
“If African leaders could not come for solidarity, at least they could come for trade, the way China and Russia attract critics of their domestic policies to their state functions. African heads seem to have made the decision that Zimbabwe under Mugabe is not the best place to do business,” economic analyst Chris Mitchell told NOW DAILY.


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