Shamed Mugabe calls off India trip

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has cancelled his participation at an Indian cultural festival reportedly over security concerns, NewsDay has learnt.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

RG.Mugabe

NewsDay yesterday reported that Mugabe would cut a forlorn figure because he would stick out as the only high-profile Head of State at the World Culture Festival (WCF) organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living.

Mugabe left for New Delhi on Monday evening to attend the low-key event, which was boycotted by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and his African peers, who preferred sending former presidents and junior ministers or MPs.

Mukherjee had already indicated he would not attend the event hosted by his country over environmental concerns raised by a lobby group, arguing the masses of people who were expected posed a threat to the site, a protected flood plain east of the capital.

Mugabe’s Press secretary George Charamba, in a statement from New Delhi, said Mugabe was now expected home “in a couple of days”.

“His Excellency, the President Cde RG Mugabe, has called off his engagement in India where he was scheduled to be guest of honour at the World Culture Festival. The event, which is a celebration of peace in multiculturalism and ecumenicity, was scheduled to begin tomorrow (today) March 10, 2016,” Charamba said yesterday.

“The cancellation follows communication from organisers of the festival acknowledging substantial inadequacies in protocol and security arrangements around the event. A number of leaders slotted for participation, including those from the host country, have also withdrawn their participation. The President is expected home in a couple of days.”

Mugabe, who was scheduled to proceed to Singapore after the festival, took with him an entourage that includes Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Charamba, among other government officials.

The President, who is famed for his love for foreign travel and has, in the past, attended a youth summit, where he was the only Head of State, curiously left behind Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture and Heritage minister Abednico Ncube.

Ncube on Tuesday confirmed he was not part of the presidential delegation to India.

While some countries were represented by Culture ministers and even legislators in the case of Japan and Germany, former presidents of Nigeria and Mozambique, Olusegun Obasanjo and Joachim Chissano, will respectively represent their countries.

Former French Premier Dominique de Villepin also makes up the list of former leaders in attendance.

The presidents of Sri Lanka and Nepal are among the few serving Heads of State at the festival.

India’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) went to court seeking an order to stop the event, raising concerns over the impact of thousands of “visitors and large structures on the fragile Yamuna bed and the flora and fauna that inhabit it”.

The Indian court yesterday ruled that “the event will proceed, but Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would have to pay for the damage to the environment. There will be no such permission in future,” reports from India said last night.

In an angry exchange on Indian channel NDTV last night, a representative of NGT told a Union minister: “You are stretching our patience.”

According to the Indian Business Standard, the Asian country’s military establishment had also raised concerns about the deployment of troops to help with preparations for a “private function”.

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36 Comments

  1. zvanyadzaka verisori

  2. This is so useless & disappointing of Mugabe & zanupf, we don’t even know whether to laugh or to cry

  3. Gwendo Gwagugwa

    India was just a stop-over that’s why they didn’t bother to include the minister for Culture on a cultural event! The big deal is Singapore (medical checkups) then Dubai, seeing his son and checking on their diamond loot. Will be interesting to hear what he tells the legion of fools that will be waiting for him at the airport on his return.

    1. hahahha spot on Gwendo Gwagugwa, i couldnt have said it any better. This our Zimbabwe is now a joke

  4. nehanda Nyakasikana

    It’s private not state function well done minister abednigo ncube for not wasting taxpayers money on useless travel. my source says he actually refused to be part of it…

    1. Who was invited in the first place?

  5. Hapana chisingaperi,bhora rave muma dying minutes.

  6. Biggie Chitoro

    kusanyara.

  7. Zvingaitwe sei?

  8. kkkk..Don’t forget that Zimbabwe does not have a former president. Who did you want us to send ? Such a shame that we have all this money to spend on stupid trips when people are starving.

    1. kkk..good one

  9. Mugabe is so much out of touch with reality its pathetic. Looking at the rot in this country, the millions of dollars he gobbled up on this useless trip would have been used to either rehabilitate a few roads in one of the suburbs, pay for the much needed medicines in government hospitals, or even import maize for the starving millions. But LOL, not with Mugabe. Zimbabwe is about him and is there to serve him as he sees fit. And his Zanu PT co hots are too stupid and blind to see that.

    WHAT A SHAME!!!!

  10. Mungamudiiii……Hapanaaaa zvamunomuita…….kwaaaa how ironic!!

  11. oh what shame

  12. Vana kuTorwood, Rutendo and Redcliff havasi kuenda kuchikoro the unemployed parents cannot afford their childrens school fees hunger is stalking the nation talk of misplaced priorities can Mr Magufuli please come down here and help us

  13. Chiringazuva chaibva chikakwata. He went there just to return. He knew that the trip was unnecessary but his hangers-on pushed for it, just for the spin-offs. It only happens in Zimbabwe.

  14. Shameful indeed. Those are the fruits of dictatorship. He has managed to create a cultic leader whereby he is the only one capable of travelling and presiding over events as well as represent the country. Insanity.

  15. At least he is proceeding to Singapore for his annual medical rejuvenation, for longevity.

  16. Why could we not send our own former president like other African countries……Oh wait!!!

    1. kkkk who is the former president of Zimbabwe ,

  17. isnt this street carnivals that we sending the nation’s no. 1 office to attend? Someone lied bcoz his name is on the entourage. its a pity that noone is grilled by the high office for such incompetence, this borders also on cronism or sheer negligence by the high office.

  18. ln the beginning was:
    Brine sibalo
    mechanic manyeruke
    Charles charamba
    but now its me

    Michael chingwangwa neRudzi rwashe band with an album called New era
    grab your copy now
    may the good lord blessed those who will support our music

    amen

  19. Vakafambira dhongi rakaora

  20. nhai vusi, isu tisingakwanise kutenga yr music r u cursing us?

  21. How funny of it Herald has blocked further commmenting on the same story on their online site….they have seen how crazy this is….really how dd this happen.!!
    http://www.herald.co.zw/president-calls-off-india-event/

  22. Asi havanzwiwo kunyara here nezvavanoita President.Kusiya vana vachichema nenzara iwe uchiparadza ma million nekuda ndege

  23. Nowadays if you remotely invite Bob for anything out of Zim he will come together with his huge delegation.

  24. This was planned. Mugabe had carried some diamonds to India. Now they want to lie to us. This was not a conference but just a festival like any other festival. How could a head of state go to such a function with such a huge delegation.
    These are diamond couriers.

  25. Zvakaoma zvinotyisa

  26. kkkkkk, the pilot didn’t even get a chance to park the plane & switch off the engine before he was told to prepare for another take-off in the Singapore direction. What a waste

  27. maybe vakuru varwara coz mubvunzo ndewekuti varipi parizvino plus wy pasina the actual date of his return

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  29. may be he went there as a former heard of state hanganwa baba

    1. kkkkkkkk.

  30. mdara makura imi zororai mugare kumba

  31. never say evil of your leaders/rulers

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