Mugabe Seeks Obama Meeting As He Sabotages Constitutional Conference

Jacob Zuma earlier today at Sharm El Seikh in Egypt where the Non-Aligned Summit started. Mugabe, who is seated a few places away from Zuma (and out of shot), has asked the SA president, who is one of his supporters, as well as the Egyptian president to arrange a "low-key" meeting with Barack Obama who will also be attending the Summit. It is a testimony to the acceptability of Obama that he becomes the first American Head of State to be invited to the Non-Aligned Summit, traditionally very anti-American.

FIRST OF ALL, MY APOLOGIES: So many of you have written and complained that I update the blog too late every day. The complaints have really mounted, including the instance a couple of days ago when I was confronted with the "accusation" at an office I was visiting near State House (yes, I mean you guys!) I understand that, but in the last few days, with the launch of MKD and stuff, we have been swamped. I routinely do not get to bed until after 3a.m. these days. BUT I WILL MAKE A SPECIAL EFFORT. Still most of my articles remain a revelation, so they do not get get stale.....a couple of hours' delay....but I will try. Promise. Now to business...

Robert "The Solution" Mugabe left the country yesterday for Egypt, where he will be attending the Non-Aligned Summit.

Mugabe left without officially opening the Constitutional Conference, even though the parliamentary committee organising the Conference, as well as the State media, had announced that he would do so on Monday.

After the disturbances on Monday, the Constitutional Conference resumed yesterday in an atmosphere of farce.

One delegate, who, during her presentation and argument tried to cite the abuse of power by government as reason why we should have a strong constitution with checks and balances, was asked to shut up and sit down by the committee.

A member of the committee then told the gathering that they had all agreed that there would be "no personal attacks on anybody and no citing of examples to make a point."

Tsvangirai is also still to address the conference, although he was due to speak at the same time as Mugabe, on Monday. The two men claimed through the State media that they had not been invited.

In another sign that the conference is basically doomed, the State media has started ignoring the proceedings. Today's Herald carries nothing on the proceedings at all. Instead, it carries stories about why the land audit demanded by PM Tsvangirai should be stopped.

It also carries a letter clearly written from within ZANU PF arguing that the parliamentarians should be the ones to write a new constitution "as demanded by President Mugabe", saying it is cumbersome to have every Jack and Jill involved.

I explained why ZANU PF and Mugabe are taking this line in my article below.

The same ZANU PF letter says the disturbances on Monday (which they caused) show that trying to involve everyone is a non-starter.

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Meantime, there was great excitement in the presidential entourage when it was discovered that Barack Obama will be attending the same Non-Aligned Movement Summit as Mugabe in Egypt this week.

I am reliably informed that the Zimbabweans have asked President Jacob Zuma and President Hosni Mubarak to see if they could arrange a short face-to-face meeting between Mugabe and Obama at the Summit. Mugabe says he wants to put his case directly to the American president, to ask for the lifting of sanctions and reopening of credit lines.

No doubt the two will be watched closely to see if they do indeed meet.

Obama has never spoken to Mugabe and his last communication with the Zimbabwean leader was a message sent through the then South African president, now Vice-president Mothlanthe.

Also, please note that Dr Simba Makoni is travelling overseas and will not be back until the end of the week.

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