PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is the only Head of State attending the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) meeting underway in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) capital of Port Moresby.
Early this year, Mugabe was also due to attend a low-key Indian Cultural Festival and later left in a huff under the guise of security concerns, as it emerged that even the host country’s leader, President Pranab Mukherjee, had snubbed the event.
Deputy Minister of Information, Thokozile Mathuthu yesterday said it was not Mugabe’s problem that other leaders did not
“We are not doing the accreditation of delegates, but it is up to organisers to deal with that. We only attend where we are invited and if other people decide not to attend, then it is up to them. I would not know,” she said.
The Zimbabwean leader, whose penchant for travel has become legendary, finds himself among “four vice-presidents, 13 Prime Ministers, one deputy Prime Minister, a Speaker of Parliament, 14 ministers and 16 ambassadors from more than 50 registered ACP countries”, according to media reports from the Pacific Ocean enclave.
“Mugabe will be the only President attending this meeting. Mugabe’s advance parties, including six other African nations, are already in Port Moresby doing preparatory work for the arrival of their delegations,” the Pacific Island Report said at the
Mugabe, as has become the norm, took with him an entourage that includes Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Information ministry permanent secretary George Charamba, among other government officials.
Mugabe has, in the past, also attended an obscure youth summit in New York, the United States, where he was the only Head of State.
Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, is represented by its vice-president Yemi Osinbajo.
The Central African Republic is represented by Prime Minister Matheu Simplice Sarandji, who arrived on Friday, while Namibian deputy Prime Minister, who doubles up as International Relations and Co-operation minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, “arrived in Port Moresby via Singapore with a handful of her entourage”.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was set to officially open the summit yesterday, with the closing ceremony set for tomorrow.