By OBERT MADONDO
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Zimbabwe this week primarily to open Zimbabwe’s international trade fair. But there is nothing non-political about the visit.
In fact, the Iranian leader’s visit was deliberately political. It was part of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s continuing personal war against the West.
Mr. Mugabe is under Western sanctions allegedly for human rights violations. Iran faces possible international sanctions over its controversial nuclear program. The Islamic republic is vulnerable. To the veteran Zimbabwe leader, the perfect weapon of the moment.
First, Mr. Ahmadinejad is the first leader from outside Africa to open the show since Zimbabwe became independent 30 years ago. Coincidence?
Second, Mr. Mugabe affirmed his support of Iran’s nuclear program during the visit. In your face!
And of course both Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Ahmadinejad lashed out at the West.
The West’s response was political too. A couple of Western news outlets tried to link the visit with Iran’s nuclear program.
The BBC alluded Zimbabwe’s unconfirmed uranium deposits. The article is aptly headlined “Zimbabwe’s Mugabe backs Ahmadinejad on nuclear Iran”.
Welcome to the era of high politics.
And of course, Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai seized the moment to re-affirmed his already known pro-West stance.
In a statement clearly primed for the Western audience, Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC reportedly “condemned” Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit.
Apparently, the visit was “a colossal political scandal” and “an insult to the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe and Iran”. Anything new here, Mr. Tsvangirai?
Last time I checked, Mr. Tsvangirai was still a partner in the Zimbabwe coalition government that invited Mr. Ahmadinejad. If Mr. Tsvangirai really meant the quoted words/phrases, he should have resigned before the Iranian strongman arrived in Harare.
And how does the beloved Prime Minister explain the apparent rebellion of Zimbabwe’s House Speaker Lovemore Moyo, who is chairman of the Mr. Tsvangirai MDC formation? The honorable speaker attended Mr. Ahmadinejad speech in Bulawayo today.
Originally Published in The Global Diversity Post