Harare,– Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has invited President Robert Mugabe to his country’s 60th Independence Day celebrations, two months after snubbing Africa’s oldest President and boldly inviting Mugabe’s main opponent Morgan Tsvangirai to his inauguration.
President Mugabe flew out to Accra on Monday morning, hardly 24 hours since returning from a health related trip to Singapore.
His spokesperson George Charamba defended the 93 year-old leader’s taxing foreign travels saying diplomacy was “does not come cheap”.
“They are forgetting their mantra argument where they claim that his Excellency is very ill, yet he has touched down this (yesterday) morning and he is leaving later today to fulfil another State fixture,” Charamba told the media on Sunday.
He was referring to the opposition and the private media that continue to condemn the Zimbabwean leader for spending millions on foreign travels with no tangible benefits to the country.
Mugabe last week flew out to Singapore for what was said to be a routine medical review which ignited wide speculation the ageing leader was nearing his death.
Charamba added: “So, this puts paid to any claims that the President is very ill. In fact, he is so well that he beats even the youngest politicians.
“Secondly, what they should know is that diplomacy costs. It is legitimate spending that makes nations states. Diplomacy does not come cheap, especially when it comes from a country of such significance as Ghana.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Mugabe was a “special guest” to a country that gave him his first wife, the late Sally, and also at one time employed him as a school teacher.
While Mugabe’s foreign itinerary continues to be a major talking point among locals, it is however the decision by the Ghanain leader to turn to Mugabe after preferring Tsvangirai to Mugabe only two months ago that is curious.
Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa, one of his three deputies, were in January this year invited by the new Ghanain leader who was being inaugurated after winning the sub-Saharan African country’s elections.
There was no explanation on why Ghana had overlooked Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s incumbent, for an opposition leader.
There was however speculation locally that Akufo-Addo’s bold stance was a show of disapproval for Mugabe, who continues to cling on to power and is now one of the world’s longest serving leaders.
During the inauguration ceremony, Tsvangirai, the country’s former Prime Minister was seen on social media hobnobbing with African leaders among them Zambia’s Edgar Lungu. – Radio VOP