Wednesday, July 30, 2014

VJ asks EU not to bar Mugabe from summit
By Allan Mulenga
Fri 31 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT

VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga (left) has asked the European Union to rescind its decision to stop Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe from attending the European Union-Africa Summit, saying the resolution is tantamount to insulting African leaders.

The African Union has resolved to shun the European Union-Africa Summit if President Mugabe will be barred from attending the meeting.

But in an interview yesterday, Mwaanga argued that the European Union's decision to stop President Mugabe would be tantamount to questioning the integrity of African leaders.

"It will be an irresponsible act on the part of the European Union to block Mugabe from attending the European-Africa summit, because Robert Mugabe was elected in the elections which were declared largely free and fair by both the African Union and SADC," he said.

"If they don't respect the opinions of the African countries, which observe these elections, it will be tantamount to insulting African countries; it will be tantamount to saying that, we, Africans are not capable of observing our own elections."

Mwaanga accused the Western powers of imposing standards on African leaders.

"The AU and SADC prior to these elections had said that the elections which were held in Zimbabwe before were not free or even fair and the whole world said so. But this time around, after the adoption of the new constitution by a national referendum, and after observer missions from African Union led by eminent African statesmen like former president Olusegan Obasanjo of Nigeria and SADC declaring elections as largely free and fair," he said.

"The European Union has the duty to respect the views of African leaders. Because if they don't do that, it means that they are going to be imposing their own standards which are not consistent with African values, on Africa."

Mwaanga urged the European Union to rethink its decision to stop President Mugabe from attending the meeting.

"I do hope that the position is not irreversible and I do hope that the European Union will rethink its position, because if that is their position, then I am afraid, it is not a helpful decision and it is tantamount to questioning the integrity of African leaders through elections which were held in Zimbabwe," said Mwaanga.

On Tuesday, foreign affairs minister, Wybur Simuusa, disclosed that African Union had resolved to shun the European Union-Africa Summit if President Mugabe will be barred from attending the meeting.

Speaking in an interview after attending the agenda of the executive council of foreign affairs ministers in Addis Ababa ahead of the AU heads of state summit, Simuusa said the continental body had decided to adopt a common position on political, economic and cultural policies affecting the African Union.



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