Mugabe slips into Italy despite ban

ROME — President Robert Mugabe slipped into Italy yesterday for the inauguration of Pope Francis and officials went to some lengths to play down the technical infringement of a European Union travel ban on Africa’s oldest leader.


Mugabe, who has been under the ban since 2002 because of allegations of vote-rigging and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, was whisked straight from his plane to Rome airport terminal in a black van, together with his wife Grace, and bodyguards.

Although the airport is on Italian territory, the 89-year-old President was met by a priest who said: “On behalf of Pope Francis, welcome to the Vatican, welcome to the Holy See.”

He was then taken to a hotel on the famous Via Veneto.

The Vatican says it did not issue invitations for the inauguration today of Pope Francis — Latin America’s first pontiff — who was elected by a secret conclave last Wednesday. But representatives of world governments are welcome to attend.

“The Holy See informs everyone that this event is taking place. There are no invitations. There are no privileges and no one is refused. While one country may have problems with someone else, we invite no one. This must be made clear,” a Vatican spokesperson said.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to cram St Peter’s Square and surrounding streets for a mass today to formally instal Pope Francis as the new leader of the world’s 1,2 billion Roman Catholics.

Mugabe, a conservative Catholic, visited Italy previously for the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and for ceremonies for his beatification in April 2011. In each case, Mugabe was permitted to travel through Italy to the Vatican, which as a separate State is not subject to the EU ban.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and has been accused of violence against his opponents and undermining the Cabinet and Parliament. Zimbabweans voted on Sunday on a new constitution curbing the presidency and reducing its length in future to two terms.

During his visit in 2005 for Pope John Paul’s funeral, Mugabe caused embarrassment to the British government by shaking hands with a startled Prince Charles, the heir to Queen Elizabeth.

MDC-T says hundreds of its members have been killed by Mugabe’s supporters.

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  1. Only goes to show the cowardice and hippocracy of the church in general! Cannot make a stand against evil based on the word of god and the morals taught therin and cannot stand by the teachings and commandments of their religion.

    1. Church is not there to judge but to show that God is love. Munhu anonoregererwa its by grace Sabi.

  2. Matambo Silvester

    Malicious reporting by an out of sorts lunatic inclined gutter tabloid

  3. Phunyukabemphethe

    The Gukurahundi now spreading his Gukurahundism even in Europe!

    1. u nid deliverance,gukurahundi is over lts unite and make a way forward to this nation,spenting tym remembering the past we are not tlking hw people were killed by smith here in concentration camps for no reason……shame on yu

      1. Smith was a white guy killing blacks you looney and not black on black

        1. bravo is not educated so he can’t understand what you mean.

  4. Sabi The church does not condem a man for his sins but churches are there for siners

  5. I am NOT a spammer !

  6. Mdct would do better to conform to dealing in reality than to concentrate on lies. It is them who brought barbaric practice in Zimbabwe. Just watch the mad man Odinga from Kenya. He had 1200 of his own countrymen killed in 2007. Tsangirai copied that and had our own brothers and sisters die the following year. This Odinga character is at it again. Guess what our own lunatic will follow the leader for they are fed by the evil hand of the pinks.

    1. Tell me how did Tsangira “have his own brothers and sisters die”?
      Somebody killed them. Who did. Tsangirayi??
      You have lost it Chingara

    2. Poor misguided fool. Obviously a zpf puppet with the same brain power an chinotemba.

  7. wish if they cld humiliate him by deporting this flavourless president,he orders the arrest of tsvangirai’s officials before he left for rome

  8. Matambo Silvester

    Gukurahundi was caused by the murderous Ndebele dissidents who after several humiliating electoral defeats by Zanu Pf decided to go on a wantom destruction of public infrustructure. The responsible gvt went in to restore order only for the senseless dissident to turn on Shona speaking civilians.

    1. Matambo Silvester you must be a lunatic to suggest that nonsense!!!!! In fact let me not dignify your utter trash with further enlightenments

      1. silvester is not educated and does not know the history of this country in the 1980’s

    2. In 1983 Zanu had won only one election and why you call this several is surprising. Probably u wer not eve n born. So stop discussing something you know nothing about moron.

    3. @ Matambo. If yo name is OG its Ndebele. Shame on you for highlighting your ignorance. Where u in Matland during the massacres, Where u anywhere near Byo? Did u experience senseless killing of 20000 non military civilians looking for only less than 200 armed dissidents ( who needed to be dealt with for sure). Our cry is not about Bob dealing with dissidents but the manner he wantomly destroyed entire communities while doing so. Please read your history unless at that time you were conscripted to 5th Brigade & merely want to protect your war crimes.

  9. zimbolecious man of xxtrimessssssa

  10. Phunyukabemphethe

    Gukurahundism in the Roman Catholic Church, right there are the Vatican, Holy See!!

  11. I am not a spammer

  12. Kapepa aka ndakaudza kuti kanyepera vanhu kakunditi ndiri spammer

  13. I had said that the headline is not only untrue but its the reporter’s imagination
    How can a whole president with his entourage slip in a country like Italy, If I am not mistaken MDC PM was aware that Monday meeting was cancelled because The President was going to be in Rome.

  14. @matambo,may i ask hw old u r?

  15. Akachena pamuri ipapo mese ngaatake mhombwe iyo!

  16. This is the last time Matibili sets foot in Europe. I hope he goes on his knees and confesses his sins and ask for forgiveness. Last chance to redeem himself.

  17. Haaaaa vari kudya mari vanhu ye state. U are not invited but u are going. Namai Gire vonotenga zvinhu zvekyItaly zvema Itarieni. Zvakaoma.

  18. Fuck off am not a spammer. Murderous ndekx

  19. i see bob my uncle winning the forthcoming elections. Morgiza seems to have completely lost the plot. this uneducated womaniser indicates left when he intends to tur right. he has made numerous about turns and most people have lost confidence in him. Free and fair election i dont think open zip stands a chance. he made a mistake by joining the gravy train.

  20. president logan

    i do not believe in the pope issue, this people aways say blasfemous words ,he says he has the power to forgive when angels themselves do not have the priviledge to forgive sins , only God has the power to forgive ,

  21. Gattuma Selukwe

    Muchipota muchiziva kuti western press emphasizes what they want at any given time in the past, now and in the future. Holy See does not invite anyone to the Papal Installation. Chero newe unongokwanisa kuendawo. Iyoyi press irikutaura kuti Mugabe was not invited it’s because these reporters are like maKombi drivers -all of them technically born of the same mother – they are absolutely clueless. Irima regarega everywhere. But then white press make it a point to talk authoritatively when the Press Secretary of the Vatican has come out in the open telling the world that anyone is free to attend. Nemi mongopupurutswa nemhepo dzisina maturo. Wake Africans!

  22. Mugabe went with Grace and by grace all things are possible.

  23. Phunyukabemphethe

    Welshman Ncube ngenkani!!

  24. Remember The Vatican is an independent state. What HE got was a Transit Visa reku Italy.

  25. Iwe, Phunyukabemphethe unopenga chete iwe unemweya wetsvina, you need cleansing,daka rako nderei chaizvo, unongotaura zvisina maturo.Wake up and smell the coffee, these are the 20s.What you are trying to do will not work,to cause ethnic divisions, kasi wakambonwa poison yekuda kuzviuraya ukasazofa, because soro rako unoita sedzinombotacha.

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