Zimbabwe’s ageing dictator Robert Mugabe lashed out at Switzerland for denying his wife Grace and several other members of his delegation visas to travel to the International Telecommunications Union Summit on Information Communication Technology in Geneva last week.
Speaking at the Harare International Airport on arrival from a visit to see his doctors in Singapore, Mugabe claimed Zimbabwe “is not without means to reciprocate”. The 87 year old said the Swiss government violated international law and his regime had not run out of options to deal with such issues.
“We were surprised, if not saddened, by what they have done. Much more, the Swiss government has always held itself as a neutral country that did not countenance war as it was neutral in any conflict even during the First and Second World wars,” he said.
“Now they are showing that they are vicious and we will reciprocate because they have their properties here. We are not without means to reciprocate,” he said. As hosts of a United Nations meeting, Mugabe said Switzerland had no right to bar delegates of any member-state of the UN from attending.
“It is a violation of rules and regulations governing host countries of UN meetings. They are alongside the United States of America because the main part of the UN is hosted in New York and the other part and agencies related to the UN are in Geneva. As host country, you should undertake not to inhibit or prohibit visits on UN business,” the Zanu PF leader said.
Mugabe has been to Singapore more than eight times for what is believed to be treatment for prostate cancer. Last week he snuck out of the country with his colleagues in cabinet not knowing where he was. Commenting on his health, Mugabe said: “You want to ask me about my health? As you can see, this Mugabe is fit and I do not know with you my other Mugabe.”
Mugabe and members of his inner circle are under targeted sanctions slapped by mostly western countries in response to gross human rights abuses. The measures include travel bans and a freeze on assets targeting specific individuals while companies linked to the regime are also blacklisted from doing business with companies in the West.