Mugabe’s secret deals

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The suprise State visit by Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on Monday appears to have been a private Zanu PF
affair.

It has since emerged partners in the inclusive government — including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai — were not briefed about the visit.
President Robert Mugabe cut short his holiday in Asia to meet Nguema, who is among Africa’s longest-ruling leaders.

The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties, which formed a unity government with President Mugabe’s Zanu PF in 2009, yesterday said they had nothing to do with the deals entered into between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea.

This has sparked fears the deals were meant to benefit only Zanu PF, which was respresented by acting Foreign Affairs minister Nicholas Goche at the signing ceremony.

Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube’s MDC parties were also not invited to a State banquet hosted for Nguema on Monday.

“The PM did not know anything about the visit and is completely in the dark about the deals,” said Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka.
“He was not even invited to the State banquet for Nguema on Monday.”

Ncube, who is also the Industry and Commerce minister, professed ignorance about the agreements signed between the two countries, some of which have a bearing on his ministry.

“I am not privy to the agreements as I was not involved,” he said.

“I am not able to comment on something I do not know as nobody from my ministry was involved and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be the best to say why they did not involve us.”

Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa said: “That is news to me.

“I am not aware of anything that was signed about information and communication as I was not involved in the discussions and did not know about Nguema’s visit.”

Nguema left the country on Tuesday after the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Special Co-operation “that will create mechanisms for bilateral co-operation and debt settling”.

Goche signed a raft of MoUs on behalf of Zimbabwe.

They included agreements to develop programmes in education and training, public administration, defence and security, support for Equatorial Guinea’s industrialisation programme, agriculture, agro-industry and livestock production.

The two countries also agreed to set up specific projects in mining, infrastructure development, communication and commerce.

Equatorial Guinea requested a comprehensive list of consumer goods produced in Zimbabwe and there was an undertaking experts from both countries would develop programmes and projects for consideration as a matter of urgency.

Nguema last visited Zimbabwe in 2006 when he officially opened the Harare Agricultural Show.

His visit culminated in a number of deals that included an agreement to supply Zimbabwe with fuel and for hospitality chain African Sun to build a hotel in the oil-rich country.

But the deals collapsed with African Sun being forced out of Equitorial Guinea unceremoniously.
Nguema is classified as one of the most brutal dictators in Africa.

Like President Mugabe, he considers himself a victim of Western imperialist manoeuvres.

He got into power in 1979 after ousting his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema, whom he executed in a bloody military coup.