EU Buckles To Mugabe Threats

The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, was in Norway today, where he is seen here with that country's Minister of Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim. Tsvangirai is struggling to convince the world to give aid to Zimbabwe and is due to meet the European Union this week in Brussels.

The European Union, which had initially turned down visa applications for two of Mugabe's ministers today did a volte-face and granted the two (Patrick Chinamasa and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, both of whom are on the sanctions list) special permission to enter Europe.

This came after The Solution warned yesterday that "he would call off the talks" due to take place in Brussels this week.

Mugabe is clearly stung by the treatment given to Walter Mzembi, another ZANU PF minister, in Washington last week. Mzembi was left out of the delegation that went to see President Obama at the White House.

The trip has been fraught with this sort of tension from the very outset.

Even before the Prime Minister left, there were murmurs of discontent from ZANU PF and The Solution, after Joey Bimha, Permanent Secretary at Foreign Affairs, was denied a visa into America.

It all shows just how desperately Mugabe wants recognition and acceptance from the Western World. He was prepared to recall the delegation and cut off communication with the European Union if they had proceeded with their initial plan of meeting only the MDC-T.

Rather than risk a confrontation with the cantankerous old man, the EU relented today, emphasising, though, that this was "a temporary visa waiver."

By the time, this trip by Morgan Tsvangirai ends, Mugabe will be apopletic with rage. Not only is no country willing to extend aid and grants or even credit lines, but his side of government is being treated as if it does not exist by the Western powers.

The hope is that he does not take it out on Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T. A hope in vain, perhaps. But still.


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