Home » General » OBAMA AT AU COMMISSION HQ NO SNUB OF MUGABE

HARARE, July 30 (NNN-NEW ZIANA) — Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, who is the current chair of the African Union (AU), was not obliged to meet United States President Barrack Obama when he visited the AU Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa on Monday as it was not a summit of the 54-member continental bloc, says Zimbabwean Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa.

Obama, in a historic maiden visit to the AU by a sitting US President, met with the AU Commission staff lead by commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma. Three African leaders — Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn — were also present.

A number of diplomats accredited to the AU were also present when Obama delivered a wide-ranging speech, touching on a variety of subjects relating to developments on the continent and Africa’s relationship with the rest of the world.

Some sections of the local and international media chose to treat the absence of President Mugabe at the meeting as a “snub” by President Obama and during Wednesday’s question and answer session of the National Assembly here, opposition MP Murisi Zwizwai asked Mnangagwa why President Mugabe had not attended the meeting.

Mnangagwa responded that President Mugabe was not obligated to attend the meeting as it was not a summit of the AU. “There is a difference between a summit and the AU Commission,” said Mnangagwa.
“If there are (African) Presidents who went to the AU Commission when it was not a summit, we cannot question them on why they chose to demean themselves.”

Mnangagwa stressed that the meeting held at the AU headquarters was not between the AU political leadership but between the Commission and President Obama. “Our President (Mugabe) knows the difference between a summit and the Commission that is why he did not go there,” Mnangagwa added.

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