WEF snubs Mugabe

2010-01-27 13:41

THE World Economic Forum on Wednesday snubbed Zimbabwe President

Robert Mugabe from attending the conference opening in Switzerland.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been invited to the WEF event

and is expected to lead in open discussions on human rights and democracy.

Gorden Moyo, minister of state in the prime minister’s office,

confirmed to City Press on Tuesday that Tsvangirai had left for Switzerland on

Monday evening.

Mugabe’s fellow regional heads of state including South Africa’s

President Jacob Zuma, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila,

Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi and Rwanda’s Paul

Kagame will all attend the forum along with such luminaries as the UN’s

secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, past secretary-general Kofi Annan and Anna

Tibaijuka, the highest ranking African woman in the UN.

Invitations to the forum are extended on an individual basis since

the organisation is non-partisan, Moyo said.

“The prime minister will talk about national development based on

transparency and on the entrenched respect of individual rights. He will also

speak about Zimbabwe and how its development is dependent on the formation of a

truly democratic dispensation.”

Political analysts are keen to hear what Tsvangirai will say to the

forum given the current political impasse that threatens the inclusive Zimbabwe

government. Tsvangirai is under pressure from Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to

push to end Western sanctions, which Zanu-PF believes Tsvangirai both invited

and has the power to have them removed.

This pressure mounted following last week’s utterances by the

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to the effect that his country would be

advised by Tsvangirai’s party, Movement for Democratic Change, on how to deal

with the issue of restrictive measures.

Mugabe’s party took it to mean that Tsvangirai could call off the

sanctions at the snap of a finger. But the British embassy in the capital Harare

explained Miliband’s statements to mean that the British government would be

directed in its actions by what happens on issues of democracy and other


Tsvangirai’s speech to the forum would be in that vein, according

to Moyo – that development in Zimbabwe would depend on the return to true


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