Wednesday

8th Feb 2023

Mugabe tells EU, US to 'go to Hell' at sister's funeral

EU, German and US envoys to Zimbabwe have been berated by Harare for walking out of the funeral of President Robert Mugabe's sister.

The diplomats left the burial ceremony on Sunday after Mr Mugabe used the occasion to lay into the West.

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In his speech for his younger sister Sabina, who died at age 76, he lay siege to EU and international sanctions against his country.

"They say 'remove so and so' - of course, they mean 'Mugabe must go before we can assist you'," he said.

"To hell with them. Hell, hell, hell with them whoever told them they are above the people of Zimbabwe that they decide what Zimbabwe should be and by who it should be ruled."

On Wednesday, the country's foreign minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, summoned the three envoys, and demanded they apologise.

He said in a statement: "Your conduct was therefore very disrespectful to our national heroes' shrine, the heroine who was being honoured and his excellency the president."

The diplomats however have said they have nothing for which to apologise.

The European Union renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe in February, citing weak advances in the country's democratic situation.

"In view of the situation in Zimbabwe, in particular the lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008, the restrictive measures ... should be extended for a further period of 12 months."

Robert Mugabe and his prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, signed a unity pact in 2008, following electoral violence that resulted in the deaths of 200 of Mr Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The EU says that that the president has yet to live up to the agreement. In September 2009, an EU delegation travelled to Harare, but found benchmarks for reform were not being met.

The bloc has maintained an arms embargo on the country and travel bans and asset freezes on Mr Mugabe and some 100 other Zimbabweans since 2002.

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