First Shopper Grace Mugabe denied Swiss Visa
By Staff Reporter
The Mugabe regime has lodged a complaint with the United Nations after Switzerland denied travel visa’s to the First Lady Grace Mugabe and several other senior Zanu PF officials who were meant to travel to the International Telecommunications Union summit on information communication technologies underway in Geneva.
The six, Grace Mugabe, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Transport and Communications Minister Nicholas Goche, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Director General Happyton Bonyongwe, Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba, and his aide de camp Senior Assistant Commissioner Martin Kwainona were all denied visas.
Mugabe was said to be leading the delegation but later cancelled the trip. Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa, who was part of the delegation, was granted a visa. A senior official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told journalists;
“We noted that this was a highly regrettable decision which was a clear violation of the United Nations headquarters host agreement and Zimbabwe’s sovereign right to determine the composition of its delegation,” the official said.
The official said Zimbabwe lodged its protest through the Swiss embassies in Harare and Geneva, the UN in New York as well as to the UN secretary-general, his representative at the ITU and the secretary-general of the ITU, which is headquartered in Geneva. The ITU is a UN specialised agency for telecommunications.
“Our ambassadors (to the UN in Geneva and the UN in New York) were told that the Swiss had made their decision and not violated the host agreement. They (Swiss authorities) argued that they had given visas to the Zimbabwean delegation and those given were adequate to represent Zimbabwe at the summit,” said the official.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba said: “These are changed times and nowadays you become neutral from one side, in this case the western side. Switzerland has called itself neutral in terms of international politics, anyway the Zimbabwe Government knows what recourse it takes in terms of international law.”
The targeted sanctions which include a freeze on assets were introduced by the EU, US, Australia and other western countries several years ago to target individuals aiding and abetting the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe. The measures were a response to gross human rights abuses being committed.