The travel restrictions were put in place in 2002 in response to widespread human rights abuses, but many observers are critical of the fact that despite this, Mugabe and his ruling elite still get to go on plenty of shopping trips.
The ZANU PF leader, blamed for destroying Zimbabwes economy through corruption, mismanagement and bad policies, showed his penchant for extravagance by arriving at Italys Fiuminicino airport with over 60 officials. Exactly what this large entourage is meant to be doing is not clear. What is clear is that once again the tax payer will foot the bill for the hefty allowances given to this entourage. Mugabe has brought hunger and starvation to millions during his brutal reign, and the irony of him attending a food summit was not lost on anyone.
The UNs Food and Agriculture Organization is having a three-day World Summit on Food Security which began Monday. More than 60 other heads of state, (the same number of people in Mugabes entourage) are expected to attend the summit.
Mugabe remains determined to actively stop farmers growing food and back home his loyalists continue to disrupt commercial farming operations by using soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army to harass the remaining white farmers in the country. The Commercial Farmers Union predicts Zimbabwe will have the worst harvest ever, with less than 500 tonnes of maize being grown, against national requirements of 1.8 million tones.
In October pressure group Zimbabwe Democracy Now called on the UN to ban Mugabe from attending UN meetings. They argued that in October a UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, was detained at Harare International Airport and told to get on the next plane out. Nowak was on an 8-day mission that had previously been organized, and agreed to, by the government, before Mugabe made a u-turn.
The United Nations allows Mugabe (and his wife, and his ministers and security people and various relatives and other hangers-on) to visit the United Nations offices wherever they may be in New York, Geneva or Rome. The Mugabes love this, because its the only way they can get round the targeted sanctions and Grace, the First Shopper, spends her crochet money on designer shoes and jewels, the group said.Post published in: News