News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Excluded from US-Africa Summit

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, Feb. 23, 2014.Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, Feb. 23, 2014.
x
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, Feb. 23, 2014.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, Feb. 23, 2014.

U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting a summit of African leaders in an effort to strengthen American ties with the continent.  But Zimbabwe, which desperately needs investment from abroad, will not be represented because of President Robert Mugabe's tainted human rights record.

Trade and investment issues are an important part of the three-day U.S.-Africa summit taking place this week in Washington.

Talking to African journalists by telephone ahead of the meeting, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield  said the summit was a “historic event.”

“The theme of the summit is “Investing in the Next Generation."  We think this reflects the common ambitions that we share with the people and governments of Africa, to leave our nations better for future generations by making gains in peace and security, and good governance and economic development.  So this is going to be an extraordinarily productive and fruitful discussion," she said.

But one of those missing that fruitful discussion is Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe. The 90-year-old Zimbabwean leader is subject to U.S. travel and financial sanctions because of his poor human rights record and history of alleged election rigging.

He joins Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Eritrea's Isaias Afwerki and the Central African Republic's Catherine Samba-Panza on the small list of African leaders excluded from the summit.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, who heads the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said Zimbabwe stood to lose a lot by not being represented at this meeting.

"So the meeting in Washington is important for trade among those countries that are meeting Obama.  And also for countries that are looking for foreign direct investment, they will be meeting with American conglomerates that want to invest in developing economies such as Nigeria - Africa’s biggest economy, followed by South Africa.  So it is important that such countries meet particularly in America where the heartbeat of international economy is," said Ruhanya.

Zimbabwe's economy has alternated between depression and weak growth for nearly 15 years, ever since Mugabe's government began to forcibly drive white commercial farmers off their land.  Foreign companies are generally reluctant to invest in the country because of political turmoil and Mugabe's nationalistic economic policies.

Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Washington, DC, Aug. 4, 2014. (Sebastian Mhofu/VOA)Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Washington, DC, Aug. 4, 2014. (Sebastian Mhofu/VOA)
x
Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Washington, DC, Aug. 4, 2014. (Sebastian Mhofu/VOA)
Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Washington, DC, Aug. 4, 2014. (Sebastian Mhofu/VOA)

Zimbabwe's deputy foreign affairs minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa, agreed with Ruhanya that the summit was crucial for Africa.

But when it comes to Zimbabwe, he said the government was at peace not being present for the discussions.

“Of course, we as Zimbabweans we are not invited.  We have no misgivings when America decides to exclude us.  It is a country which has been uncomfortable with an assertive nationalist.  We brook no strictures from anybody, including America,” said Mutsvangwa.

I asked Ruhanya if Mugabe’s exclusion had something to do with his “assertive nationalism."

"No, it has nothing to do with uprightness to the West or otherwise.  But it has to do with how he governs his country.  The kind of economic undergrowth that we have seen has nothing to do with the West.  America is averse to authoritarian regimes, averse to patrimonial regimes, that is why Mugabe is not there.  That is why he was not invited by Obama. Also to do with the election of last year," he said.

The Obama administration was one of the Western governments that refused to recognize Mugabe’s re-election in July 2013, which the opposition MDC party says was rigged.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Met Mina from: South Africa
August 06, 2014 2:15 PM
Who are you America on our Zimbabwean or African issues, is that what a humanitarian organization do, to devide and rule. You think we are all fools to go against our own President because of your evil pretence. Where have you ever seen someone who loves the children of a father that they hate, please, please leave us alone, God the Almighty will look after us, keep your carrots and never mind about us. We are now getting agitated by your cheap politics. You think we are too foolish to see what you have long embarked on against Zimbabwe, don't pretend to be good people, God knows you are cruel, if you have people of Zimbabwe help them quietly not your stupid, empty noise..please...
In Response

by: Martin from: Gweru
August 07, 2014 3:22 AM
Met Mina that's exactly what they are doing leaving us alone to our selfish rulers who neglect to invest in the public health sector but prefer to go out of Africa on the very poor tax payers' money to seek medical help. Met Mina you should come back home and work for the good of Zimbabwe instead of being a dog for the boers.

by: son of the soil from: zimbabwe
August 06, 2014 12:53 PM
Who doesnhebthink he is,how have we been living for the past 15 years. Africa will never become a country full of immigrants.

by: Bill Fairbairn from: Canada
August 06, 2014 8:15 AM
When will the U.S. and Britain give Zimbabwe the chance it deserves? Gaza needs this chance too.

by: Elford Takudzwa Makarichi from: Johansburg
August 06, 2014 2:38 AM
Mugabe is our beloved president.whether they invite him or nt that has nothing to do wt hm.We wil always loves yu nomater watever they say about yu.Obama should concentrate on American issues den Mugabe on Zimbabwean issues thats all.Tinokudai Gushungo

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 06, 2014 1:45 AM
Robert Gabriel Mugabe may our Lord bless you forever. You are my hero! Continue to stand tall and firm, never blink.

by: Chabanga@gmail.com from: Masheast
August 05, 2014 1:50 PM
Ours is a true leader who will never bow to the west in favour of money.Mugabe lion of the west when he roar the west trebble; it wants to cheat weak minds

by: nhlanhla from: south africa
August 05, 2014 8:53 AM
Last african Dictator.
In Response

by: Trigger lickshot from: London
August 08, 2014 12:28 PM
The king of Africa you might as well say it.

by: Tonderai Maxwell Murema from: Polokwane South Africa
August 05, 2014 1:25 AM
Obama be adviced that we stand by our president Mugabe whether bad or good he is our president am sorry for you, you think u can rule the whole world of course u can but not in Zimbabwe we do have our president Mugabe and again be advised that we voted for him so why undermining the wishes of the Zimbabwean people sorry Mr the whole world president in Zimbabwe we dont need you we have eyes to see and we have ears to hear and we have education to deduce where there is wrong and good am sorry Mr Obama your country is not only the mother of all countries while u are busy with your so called puppets or maybe leaders of your provinces in africa Mudhara Mugabe is busy somewhere with some pressing issues
In Response

by: Owen from: South Africa
August 06, 2014 3:55 AM
Zimbabwe is a great country and we have great leaders. GOD bless Zimbabwe. We are out of the country for a good course. GOD love u Zimbabwe. America wants to rule Africa and we African don't see that.
In Response

by: xhanti from: western cape
August 05, 2014 7:57 AM
Then why are you in south Africa if you are happy with your president go back to Zimbabwe then.

by: michael from: Nigeria
August 05, 2014 12:44 AM
Good Obama
In Response

by: JackO from: Virginia
August 05, 2014 10:26 AM
Obama banned Mugabe because Obama can't stand competition!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs