Mugabe’s report card

Last week, several cameras were trained on the UN podium. Behind that podium stood Robert Mugabe. As a man who has been largely ignored by the West and one who is banned from traveling to America, this was a once-a-year opportunity for Mugabe to repair relations, especially since all China gave him was a consignment of rice.


America recently lifted travel restrictions on several Zanu (PF) functionaries but keeps two photographs at JFK international airport – one of Grace and another of Robert Mugabe – above which is a note in big bold capital letters, reading ‘DO NOT ALLOW ENTRY’ – figuratively speaking of course. Mugabe, the globetrotter has, in the last decade, had to restrict his travels to the Far East. The UN General Assembly was a rare opportunity.

All Mugabe needed to do in order to initiate conciliatory dialogue was ‘the past is the past, Zimbabwe is open for business.’

Presented with the opportunity to make peace, President Mugabe behaved like a felon who, invited to a parole hearing, threatens to petrol bomb the home of the parole board chairman. Rather than a diplomatic address, he went off on a tangent, speaking about things that will never translate into milk and bread for the ordinary Zimbabwean – America’s ‘deafening silence’ over Israel’s attack on Gaza – and tactlessly demanding that ‘evil sanctions’ be removed.

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