News that Robert Mugabe is in Rome attending a food summit organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The summit begins tomorrow, but the BBC reports that Mugabe plans to stay in Rome until Friday this week.
Robert Mugabe is likely to try and use this opportunity to hurl abuse at International leaders again. At a similar summit held in 2005 Robert Mugabe revelled in the chance to denounce the then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush. Zimbabweans were appalled to witness this tirade being greeted with applause by other African Nations.
The FAO falls under the auspices of the United Nations, and as such European travel restrictions against Robert Mugabe and his family do not prevent him from attending the summit.
We hope that Robert Mugabe and his family will not be allowed to shop in Rome's luxurious designer shops in between FAO speeches. And we hope that the paparazzi are alert to this, and will take it upon themselves to monitor his and his wife's movements closely.
We also hope that regional leaders are aware now that Robert Mugabe is a dictator, and that he lost the recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections, and we hope that they understand that applauding a dictator is tantamount to endorsing and encouraging him to commit worse atrocities against his people. We hope they realise that claps feel like slaps in the face of the Zimbabwean people.
Please can you respond to our action appeal below.
Protest against Robert Mugabe's presence at a food summit in Rome
It is likely that Robert Mugabe will use his platform at the FAO to argue that all the troubles he faces is a direct result of 'Western Imperialists' objecting to his Land Reform policies. The implicit claim that he is deeply concerned about food security in our country is utterly farcical when confronted by his regimes use of food as a political weapon - to starve his people into submission.
Action 1: Contact the press in your country and make sure they understand the Zanu PF regime's real views on the usefulness of food
Please contact the press in your part of world and as them to read them and to make sure that any publicity Robert Mugabe gains from this platform, that it is balanced with the truth that he has a long history of using food as a weapon against his people.
Please ask them to make sure that no one in his party use this opportunity to 'go shopping'. Ask them to expose him if he does, and to point out that Zimbabwe's inflation rate is rapidly heading towards 2,000,000%
The following links refer to articles and blogs that Sokwanele has written in relation to Robert Mugabe's use of food as a political weapon against Zimbabweans.
Action 2: Contact the FAO, Italian Embassies, and African Special advisor to the UN
Protest against Robert Mugabe's attendance. Warn them that he will use their platform to further his own political propaganda.
Tell them that Zimbabweans are starving and that they need to see the International community sending a strong signal to despots that the use of food as a political weapon is unacceptable and constitutes a gross violation of human rights punishable under International Law.
Please remind them that Robert Mugabe is under European travel sanctions for human rights abuses, and request that the Italian government takes measures to ensure he may not use the chance to go shopping or enjoy himself abroad while his thugs abuse his people in Zimbabwe.
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy
FAO Subregional Office (Harare)
P.O.Box 3730, Harare
Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, United Nations
Name: Wright, David - UN Special Adviser on Africa
Contact the Italian Embassies in your country - please share contact details in the comments so we can add them to our database.
Action 3: Contact SADC
Warn them that any open applause for Robert Mugabe's rantings will be interpreted by the International community and by Zimbabweans as an endorsement of his government's ruthless disregard for the rule of law and for human rights in Zimbabwe.
Suggest to them that this will be especially damaging to the region's claim for neutrality in the run-up to the Presidential run-off elections.
Remind them that the results from the March 29th Parliamentary and Presidential elections clearly showed that Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe have fallen out of favour with the Zimbabwean people.
Advise them that it might be politically wise for SADC to start to consider how they will constructively work with a new political party, and that any applause for a leader who kills, abducts and tortures his political opponents may well be damaging to future relations with the new government in waiting.
Email addresses for SADC National Contact people (their full names and addresses available on our Action Contact Database)
Action 4: Circulate information about this Action Alert as widely as possible.
Use the 'Share This' link at the end of the post to share with your contact lists. Do all you can to help prevent Robert Mugabe from claiming the moment of glory he will undoubtedly seek to achieve. Or simply copy and paste the text of this post into an email and send to your contact lists.
This appeal sent out on Twitter. See here for how to receive updates via your cell phone.