Sanctions


Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has warned Switzerland he would “reciprocate” after his wife and top officials were denied visas to attend a UN meeting in that country, state media said Monday.

“Now they are showing that they are vicious and we will reciprocate because they have their properties here,” Mugabe said in the state-run Herald newspaper.

“We are not without means to reciprocate,” he said.

“It is violation of rules and regulations governing host countries of UN meetings.”

Mugabe’s wife Grace, his personal bodyguard, and four top officials were denied visas to attend to a meeting of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union in Switzerland, causing the trip to be cancelled, according to state media.

The six are on the sanctions list imposed by the European Union and backed by Switzerland, which is not an EU member. Switzerland has not commented on the visas.

Swiss food giant Nestle operates a factory in Harare, which produces cereals and powdered milk for the local market.

Meanwhile, The Herald said Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe on Sunday from a private visit to Asia — trips that have become monthly events amid reports that the 87-year-old leader is suffering from prostate cancer.

Mugabe has angrily denied reports that his health is worsening.

“You want to ask me about my health. As you can see, this Mugabe is fit,” Mugabe told the paper.

According to the WikiLeaks whistleblower website, Mugabe has prostate cancer which has metastasized, and has been advised by doctors to cut on his activities.

The cable sent to Washington in 2008 said Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono told the then-US ambassador, Jame McGee that Mugabe was told by doctors he had three to five years to live.

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President Robert Mugabe disappointed his ZANU PF supporters here when he failed to turn up at Mucheke Stadium to launch an anti sanctions campaign as previously scheduled on Thursday.

Although top provincial executive party members were informed that the octogenarian leader was no longer able to make up for the intended star rally due to ill health, some overzealous youth from different parts of district had woken up early in the morning forcing people to go to Mucheke stadium.

“Why did he promise in the first place? We are greatly disappointed by what these guys did. Instead of notifying us to stop calling people to the stadium, they just ignored us. We woke up early to mobilise people to go to the stadium as per instruction only to find out that Mugabe was no longer coming.

“Up to now we don’t know why the meeting was cancelled but it is us whom they use when they want to have people in the stadium. If they still need our support, then they must think twice and never repeat this blunder,” said one of the youths identified as Achiford Toperesu.

“Why were we rehearsing when they knew he (Mugabe) was not coming? We are not fools, they must not waste our time,” said another youth.

A RadioVOP correspondent saw hundreds of ZANU PF women’s league members who had gone to Mucheke stadium returning home after discovering that the gates at the stadium were locked. The women complained that their time ‘was wasted’.

Masvingo ZANU PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke said true ZANU PF cadres were aware that Mugabe was no longer coming.

“There was no confusion as you might think, our true cadres got the word yesterday (Wednesday afternoon) I don’t know why you say some youth were complaining,” said Matuke.

Mugabe, one of the continent’s longest serving leaders, turns 87 on February 21. He was supposed to launch the anti sanctions petition to be signed by over 2 million party supporters.

“Acting president John Nkomo was said to be the one coming, but intelligence sources said the anti-sanctions petition launch was proved to be a task too big for him,” a senior government official told Radio VOP.

(Source)