PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s exclusion from the 47 African leaders invited to a summit seeking to widen US trade, development and security ties was a non-issue for Zimbabwe as the country’s new economic thrust did not need the US to succeed, a senior government official has said.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday told local and regional military officers at the Zimbabwe Staff College that the countries that have been left out were well-endowed with natural resources to allow them to make it on their own.
Moyo said the US was simply seeking to pursue its own interests by engaging African countries at a time when China was making significant economic inroads into the continent. “People are saying Mugabe has been snubbed. It’s a non-issue. We can see that this is America pursuing its interests because it is afraid that China has made headway,” he said. “Even this so-called summit is about trying to contain China. Countries that have relationships with China are not a part of it.”
Moyo said Zimbabwe was interested in forging ahead with its new economic discourse rather than “a trip to Washington” that would give US President Barack Obama the feeling that he had the ability to hold all those 47 people in the White House.
“These are old economics, old politics for us. We have at least a quarter of the world’s diamonds and that is more important than going to Washington,” he said. “Americans have taught us not to value their meetings.”
Obama is expected to send out invitations to all African nations in good stead with his country or have not been expelled from the African Union, which excludes Zimbabwe and Egypt.
The summit, which is scheduled for August 5 and 6, will seek to cement progress from the US president’s African safari last year and will focus on trade and investment in Africa while highlighting America’s commitment to Africa’s security and democratic development.
Meanwhile, a group of rowdy suspected Zanu PF youths disrupted a meeting convened by the US embassy in Masvingo on Wednesday night shouting the party’s anti-sanctions mantra.
They also assaulted journalist Godfrey Mtimba, who was taking photographs, tearing his jacket in the process. The youths, who were visibly drunk, stormed the venue of the US President Barack Obama’s Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders Initiative at the Charles Austin Theatre.