‘Trump snubs Mugabe over political risk’


By Gift Phiri

US President Donald Trump’s phone call to South Africa President Jacob Zuma highlights neighbouring Zimbabwe’s high political risk and that Washington does not consider President Robert Mugabe a serious factor in Afro-American political and socio-economic relations, opposition and analysts said yesterday.

Two senior United States officials have compared President Robert Mugabe’s weird nature to that of that country’s Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Donald Trump and Robert Mugabe White House — Donald Trump.

This comes after Trump spoke with Zuma on Monday this week to discuss ways to expand cooperation and trade between the US and SA.

According to a statement from Zuma’s office, “The two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the already strong bilateral relations between the two countries. There are 600 US companies in South Africa and strong trade relations between the two countries.”

In a quintessential rebuff of the 92-year-old Mugabe as tensions escalate over Washington’s February 6, 2017 concerns over “the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe”, the White House apparently snubbed Mugabe, with the businessman and television persona turned president maintaining a tougher US line against Zimbabwe.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has reacted with indignation to US’ damning criticism of Zimbabwe’s human rights record, telling State Department officials they can “go and hang on a banana tree.”

Charamba told the State media Zimbabwe was waiting for an overture from the Trump administration to see how relations will be between the two countries during the Republican leader’s presidency.

“We are waiting for a cue from a new government,” Charamba said.

But Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC said the snub highlights the deepening of an already toxic bilateral relationship that matters increasingly less to Washington.

“Put bluntly . . . Mugabe has been nothing but a curse to Zimbabwe’s international relations,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“No one, including even the Chinese, no longer trusts Mugabe. He is not a man of his word. He indicates left and then he suddenly turns right.

“Trump doesn’t consider Mugabe as a serious factor in Afro-American political and socio-economic relations.

“Trump knows that Mugabe is yesterday’s man; he also knows that Mugabe is in the political departure lounge, he is on his way out of power.”

Trump and Zuma, according to a White House summary of their call, reaffirmed an “expressed interest in identifying new, mutually beneficial opportunities for trade” and to “deepen the bilateral relations.”

Analyst Takura Zhangazha said people must not read too far into Trump’s snub as it does not change the structural dynamics in a bilateral relationship that is slowly worsening, and slowly fading in importance.

“Trump chose Zuma because the latter leads the largest economy in the region and is a key trading partner with the US and also in recognition of the fact that South Africa is a regional powerhouse, at least economically.

“This is also the same reason why Trump also called Nigeria’s (President Muhammadu) Buhari.”

Trump also spoke with Buhari to discuss the strong cooperation between the US and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance priorities.

Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said SA has a larger GDP, larger population than Zimbabwe, and better trade with the US.

The country exported $176 million in agricultural products to the US last year under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) — a US trade agreement designed to help African exporters.

“Zimbabwe is a very small country, with a tiny GDP, dilapidated infrastructure, and facing economic downturn. Zimbabwe also has high political risk on investments.

“So all these factors, including poor governance make us not a favourite choice for stronger bilateral relations with super powers seeking to expand trading relationships.”

Dewa Mavinga, a senior Africa researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said: “President Mugabe’s government needs to know that investors can completely ignore Zimbabwe if there are no urgent steps to restore the rule of law and establish conditions conducive for business that secures the best interest of Zimbabwe and its people.”

Senior consultant at the International Crisis Group Piers Pigou said Trump cannot engage Mugabe because of targeted sanctions aimed to maintain pressure on Zimbabwe by sustaining the costs of its blatant electoral fraud and rights abuses.

“The US cannot legally move on certain areas of engagement with the Zimbabwean government until there have been significant moves on governance, rule of law, human rights issues. This is clear from Zdera (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001).

“This (US) law appears to inhibit the kind of shift from the politics of the stick to the politics of the carrot that we have seen employed by the UK and EU, which has had mixed results and generated significant frustration, in turn leading to a growing concern about the Zimbabwean government and ruling party’s commitment to reforms it claims it will implement.

“I suspect the US has watched this and decided at this juncture there is not much to work with in terms of those issues.”

Nevertheless, the US remains a vital contributor to humanitarian support and key service delivery areas to Zimbabwe, in particular the health sector.

“Trump can override Zdera but there has to be clear cause to do so.  In their calculations this is not so,” Pigou added.

Dinizulu Macaphulana, former researcher at Institute for Security and Development Policy, said the US is focusing on SA, Nigeria, Botswana and other countries in their scramble for the control of Africa.

“Zimbabwe will be inconsequential except as a problem to be solved. Zimbabwe’s international relations died a long time ago,” Macaphulana said.

Trump, who so far has been mostly focused on his “America First” agenda, has not spoken at much length about his policies concerning Africa. But his controversial travel ban, one of his first major executive orders, has targeted three African countries: Sudan, Libya and Somalia. Daily News

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  • This is a rubbish article really

    Out of 54 African States he phones 2 and its somehow a snub to Zimbabwe?

    See how ridiculous opposition media is?

    • Shez crzy maan

    • Crazy isnt it

    • You’re right, meaning he snubbed many kkkkkk

    • From the 54 subtract all the french speaking and the portuguese speaking.yu wil see that of the anglophone countries zim is also big and vital.it wil be important fo zim to receive that call as it opens gates to investors

    • You honestly believe Nigeria and SA were called because they speak English?

    • U mean Zuma speaks english kikiki

    • Chenhamo Chemutengure kkkkkkkjkk

    • mabel muuduri

      And one of the two is an ISIS that is killing non Muslim people. What a joke!

  • Trump isn’t god. Bull to you munyori

  • heeeeei

    Zimbabwe is a problem to be solved, hopefully by Zimbabweans with the assistance of other progressives???

  • This iz shit

  • Every country whether snubbed or not has its own analysts and media to use. This article is a Zimbabwean media. They have a reason and a right to let u kno why Bob wasnt called by Trump. Incase Zbc didnt tell you

    • Always the first to comment😂😂😂✌

    • before some elements on this playtform rush to poison the readers wth misinformation

    • Rubbish…

      Please define for us what the word snub means

    • You can google. Zanu government was obviously expecting some communication of hope from the US and he skipped them from SA all the way to West Africa. Chenhamo and a few of u misguided pple dont kno that your bosses really like America nd Britain more than u think. They pretend not to care but they want to normalise relations. They have frozen accounts with money there plus they want to spend millions at British boutiques and American beaches wth their hungry and youthful wives. Do u think they enjoy buying diamond rings in China wen there is American and British cities?

  • Hahaha very funny

  • No American president wil support zimbabwean leadership right now

  • Trump kp your America and we shall kp our Zimbabwe

  • When is he phoning Bob

  • they might be 2 of Africa’s exploitable states

  • Zimbabwe will never be a colony Again

    • mabel muuduri

      Hemeni

  • Even though Mugabe and his regime cause Zimbabweans to suffer, Trump and his mouth piece must shut up. Zimbabwe will remain our nation. We have no benefit in him being president of the USA or calling Zuma.

    • DENDENDE

      Say it louder for everyone to hear

  • THANKS Trump for not calling this thing. Its not a president so why should he call something which is not a president when he want to call presidents

  • Zimbabwe is a sovereignty country that is why we celebrity independence every year on 18 April

    • What is sovereignty my brother ?

    • Tichaona Teta, how are you my brother.Its you my brother who lives in independent Zimbabwe not the majority of Zimbabweans who are suffering in poverty.We have no independence to celebrate.18 April is meaningless to most Zimbabweans.Joblessness,poverty,hunger,lack good health facilities,expensive education,poor accommodation,dilapidated infrastructure(roads,railwaylines,hospitals,schools,government buildings,expensive food and clothing to jobless people),a government which does not care about helping the elderly and crippled people.No old age grant.No pensions,poor salaries to the few who are employed.As I speak doctors are striking and the government organises million men March,the President blows a lot of money to live hotels in the East.He is back and is organising a huge birthday party milking the little cash that is there.We live in a dictatorship.We made a constitution now we keep amending it to give a president absolute power to choose the chief justice.Is this independence.This is not independence.We are in a new type of colonialism.What sovereignty?How many Zanu Pf members voted for and against having a 94 year old as a presidential candidate.We want transparency and honest.No votes occurred at all.We are not fools to believe you propaganda.Power should be relayed in a party to give the country new ideas to take it forward.What do you say about the level of corruption and misappropriation of funds by Mr Moyo and no court action was taken.Did Marange diamonds rescue our economy or they even caused more suffering?Where is this inference and sovreignity which you brag about.It’s a pie in the sky.You make me laugh.You are possibly a beneficiery of this oppressive system of governance which has made most Zimbabweans desparate and hopeless.Have mercy.Learn to say and write the truth.Go and look at our old diesel trains and railway lines.Look at our roads and delapidated hospitals with little medicines.Look at unpaid workers and the low salaries.Look at our water quality and loadshedding.Look at the jobless youths in the streets who are buying and selling.Look at people desparate for cash.Listen to students who are at universities and jobless graduates.See the closed companies.I think you are a cruel man.

    • You are waiting for trump to solve this problem for you

    • My brother help yourself 2018 dont wait for your neighbour who is living nice to feed you inga unozviva kuty pachendu vekwa bamukuru vanoshaya mombe dzekurimisa imi munadzo muchiti vaitenga shunga isutichitenga mombe

  • Even if trump had called Mugabe ,the old man was going to sleep halfway through the conversation

  • It always boggles the mind to find out that your neighbour received a call from

  • Communication is two way why can’t Mugabe pick up the phone and call him too if he really wanted a chat

  • Every nation wish the same because America give business to Africa and not Africa to America. So we are talking of investment in any form so zimbabwe has got a reason to worry. Like it or not but zimbabwe needs investment badly than south africa.

  • Imi siyanayi ne america, they have the right to choose who to befriend and who not to. Makataura kudhara kuti they are your enemies saka vasiyeyi vaite yavanoita imi moita yamunoita.

  • Who cares wheather Trump phones Bev…or Zuma? The Sun wil raise and set in Zim. We r a small nation so why should we need to worry about a superpower we can’t compete with? Its only morons who have sleepless nights thinking America really loves black Zimbos more than their own niggers in America who white policemen shot at point blank!

  • Who is trump???

  • Is he “Trump ” not the political risk to the whole world?

  • Chikiti

    This article is a waste of time

  • We need america thn ever before $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • So was trumps call supposed to be that important. Its only important to the brainwashed goats from Nehanda Radio. Who even don’t knw the conversation yakaitwa naTrump yacho kuna Zuma

  • So what????

  • he just called to ask Zuma how the chickens are selling, so Mugabe apindawo papi paHuku Dzakamanikidzirwa kuSA?

  • ko ngaambo phonera VaMugabe vacho zvee

  • Mugabe and Trump are both risks

  • Bek off trump sons and daughters of the pigs you demon idiot

  • ndiyani trump wacho amunotiudza nezvake

  • The thing is you cannot have it both ways. Hazvibatsire kunetsana nana america we are neither Russia nor are we China. Russia and China have got the capacity to stand their ground against America. Manje isu totukana ne america kana takupihwa silent treatment totanga ku complaina.Lets not fool ourselves guys, we need those countries whether for direct foreign investments or to promote trade. If we are in good books with them they are actually more helpful than China.

  • Genghis Khan

    It is too early to make conclusions although we all doubt that Trump will chance Washington stance on Zimbabwe. However Charamba’s responce that Washington can go hang on a banana tree shows you the kind of government we have. These Zanu PF savages are holding all of us at ransom

  • Sohci

    The old man must be throwing his toys out of the cradle because of the snub

  • Ngozi

    So he snubbed Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland……all south Africa’s neighbours. This is bull