Robert Mugabe Not Given Speaking Slot at UN Conference in Mexico

President Robert Mugabe was reportedly leaving Mexico none too pleased Thursday having allegedly failed to get a speaking slot at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The globe-trotting 93-year-old left Harare, well ahead of conference start, last Friday for North America on a chattered flight after his usual Air Zimbabwe hire was grounded for failing safety tests.

The ailing near-centenarian, who could be seen tortuously struggling to get up to the VIP dais while recently burying former chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku (watch video here), ignores calls to cut back on his endless foreign trips.

Opposition parties condemn the globetrotting as promiscuously wasteful for a government that is effectively broke and struggling to pay its workers.

“We hear he has left Mexico in a huff. Apparently, he was not given a speaking slot and is not overly amused,” a well-placed source told NewZimbabwe.com Thursday.

“These people are abusing a poorly 93-year-old and, in the process, humiliating the country for the sake of travel and subsistence allowances.”

The presidential travelling party is said to get millions of dollars in cash in the event of contingencies, but the money reportedly never returns to the State treasury despite no emergencies ever attending the nonagenarian while abroad.

The nearest he came to an emergency was March 2016 when he had to be holed up in Singapore after aborting mid-air a trip to India, having apparently been misadvised regarding some Delhi cultural conference.

Mugabe travelled to Mexico with three ministers in tow – Saviour Kasukuwere of local government, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, foreign affairs and environment minister Oppah Muchunguri.

He was one of the very few heads of state and government attending the conference; most countries choosing to send ambassadors and ministers instead.

From the region, Tanzania was represented by its ambassador to the United States, Malawi by a secretary to its vice president, Lesotho send a director in its local government ministry, Uganda by its commissioner for relief while South Africa sent its cooperatives minister.

According to a list of speakers on the conference website, Swaziland’s Mswati – one of the few heads of state who could be seen in official photos of the event – made a statement, along with the vice president of Zambia Inonge Mutuka Wina; but not Mugabe.

The Zimbabwean leader usually addresses international conferences that he attends – and he misses very few; the opportunities are often used to rail against the West for shutting its doors to him.

However, for reasons that remained unclear Thursday, the Zimbabwean leader did not speak in Mexico.

Organisers warned that “due to the large number of requests for statements, there will not be enough time for all stakeholders to deliver an oral statement”.

Those who failed to get a slot were advised to consider “submitting a written statement that will be posted on the public Global Platform website”.

Again, Zimbabwean state media was bereft of the usual near-daily updates on his engagements at the conference, although Mugabe took along a retinue of journalists from the ZBC-TV, The Herald and even the ruling Zanu PF party-owned People’s Voice.

Humiliation deserved

Opponents back in Harare said the Zanu PF leader deserved all his humiliation.

People’s Democratic Party secretary general and former cabinet minister Godern Moyo said Mugabe’s participation at the conference offered little by way of viable solutions to problems facing current and future generations.

“Very few serious public leaders would allow themselves to be subjected to tedious folkloric speeches from zoo bound megaphone,” Moyo told NewZimbabwe.com on Thursday.

“The summit is searching for generational solutions. It does not make sense for the summiteers to pretend that Mugabe has something to offer to them when he has failed to offer it to his own country.”

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu also said his party felt vindicated.

“This is the main reason why we have always stated that Mugabe should cut down on his foreign trips and in fact immediately step down.

“He is old and tired and we are sure that the conference organisers in Mexico realised that it would be asking for too much if Mugabe was given a slot to speak at the conference.

“The MDC condemns the reckless wastage of scarce foreign currency to charter a plane all the way to and from Cancun in Mexico only for Mugabe and his delegation to go and enjoy themselves in the humid prime tourist resort of Mexico,” he said.

Gutu continued: “As it is, Zimbabwe has not benefitted anything at all from this entirely purposeless and hugely expensive foreign jamboree into Mexico.”

Mugabe travelled to North America shortly after returning from a claimed routine health check-up in Singapore.

Before he had attending an economic forum in South Africa where he claimed that Zimbabwe was the second most developed country on the continent.

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Source: New Zimbabwe

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