India trip boosts Look East policy

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
IT IS thoughtless to talk about the cost of President Mugabe’s diplomatic travel without a long-term view of what that travel yields by way of investment into the Zimbabwean economy, Press Secretary to the President Mr George Charamba said yesterday.

He was reacting to sensationalised reporting by the privately owned media on President Mugabe’s trip to India where he was scheduled to be guest of honour at the World Culture Festival.

The festival attracted over 3,4 million people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.

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President Mugabe called off the engagement – a celebration of peace in multiculturalism and ecumenicity – because of poor security arrangements by event organisers which saw several other leaders withdrawing.

In a telephone interview with The Herald yesterday, Mr Charamba said India was a key player in the Zimbabwean economy and the visit by President Mugabe should be understood as part of an elaboration of Government’s Look East policy taking on new facets and dimensions.

“The President’s foray to India has to be understood as part of an elaboration of our Look East policy which continues to take on new facets and dimensions. However misread this trip maybe at home, watchers of diplomacy get a very clear message on how Zimbabwe is determined to break with its colonial past by fashioning new South-South relations and significantly shortly the President would be back in the Asian subcontinent for another fixture giving a clear testimony to a coherent policy unfolding,” he said.

Mr Charamba said there was no need to get personal about President Mugabe’s foreign trips.

“There is no need to be personal about foreign relations. The President is the Head of State which means he gives face to a nation internationally,” he said.

Added Mr Charamba: “Diplomacy works by gestures, by show of goodwill. Diplomacy invites a sitting Head of State to play a role on the world stage. Whatever happened to the trip, a gesture and show of good- will to the Indian government and Indian people has not been lost. Beyond those gestures, diplomacy is an investment with clear returns. It is thus thoughtless to talk about the cost of diplomatic travel without (a) long-term view of what that travel yields by way investment into the economy.”

India is a major player in the Zimbabwean economy.

It is a source of credit, investment and a key ally diplomatically.

“What is the dollar of that relative to the paltry spending incurred by the President and his delegation?” said Mr Charamba.

He said Heads of State do not attend inter-government events only but also take advantage of private ones to engage each other in a less formal and structured environment.

“We were in India for the India-Africa Summit last year. Several irons were put on fire and this visit was a good opportunity to check on red hot ones. We engaged the financial sector, we engaged the private sector, we engaged investors and this was a good opportunity for us to follow up riding on people to people relations,” said Mr Charamba.

He said President Mugabe’s Indian trip exposed shortcomings in the way the media cover diplomatic issues.

“Not all fixtures are necessarily interstate events. Governments and states do ride on private fixtures to further their strategic goals and one key goal had to do with raising the profile of a country. Where you have in excess of 3,4 million peoples from all cultures and religions there is a good case for repositioning the profile of a country and in the case of Zimbabwe, this is particularly critical in the aftermath of our African Union chairmanship and against the goal of lobbying further for changes in the global governance system,” Mr Charamba said.

He said Zimbabwe has to reposition itself “to beat sanctions and the psychosis of isolation which those nations that imposed sanctions want to cultivate”.

Mr Charamba described Indo-China as a fraction of humanity where faiths and cultures co-exist harmoniously.

“Above all, a progressive Third World region with similar wishes for representation in the Security Council and so Zimbabwe has to place a word for world peace to reinforce its position as a constructive member of the world community. We also have a strong Indian community at home which feels accommodated in this gesture by the President,” he said.

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  • Gushungo

    Please Herald, you are trying too hard… You should have just left it alone… Even the picture you put of the commander in chief says it all. Ya neh… Ma 1

  • kutototo

    Thanks Cde Charamba for clarifying this one nekuti in shona we say ‘Makafambira dhongi rakaora’.

  • Tony Shambamuto

    VaMaodza deno makavabvunza kuti sei minister we culture asimo mu delegation? Otherwise Charamba spoke well but, was very shallow and monolithic in thought

  • Rindirai

    Yesterday Minister Jonathan Moyo claimed for President Mugabe, “He is & was not in India as much as you want him to be there!”
    Can Mr Charamba confirm the current location of the President?

  • Hachi1

    But hanzi he never went to India he is in Singapore and it was not mentioned in his itinerary

  • Eagle Eye

    Squealer…….nxaaaaaa! Nhai VaCharamba Hamuonewo here kuti kukumbira ruregerero kunyika kuri nani. Handidi hangu kutaura nezvemari yakaparadzwa asi kuti nenyaya ye safety yemutungamiri wenyika. Zvinorevei kana muchingonoti kuche munyika mevanhu musina kuoongorora kuti masecurity measures ose ogadziriswa? At this rate muchapedzisira mapinza mukuru wenyika pasiri ipo, chokwadi, nekufarira kwenyu kungobhururuka nedzindenge. I’m not a security guru asi apa pakakanganiswa. No amount of “squealing”can ever save those responsible for this boob. Heads must roll ! Hautange nekungochovha bhasikoro kumateru wozoti, “Ah, mabhureki ndeipi?, Anoshanda here?”

  • jj

    This one will need quality, intelligent propaganda for it to wash, not this mumbo jumbo from Cde Charamba! Sometimes keeping quiet does wonders!

  • Zunzanyika

    This charamba fella needs to be detained in a high security psychiatric sanitary unit. How he can come up with an explanation like this, is a total disregard to the sanity and intelligence of Zimbabweans and beyond.

    India has always looked west from the time they gained independence, from the colonial British. They have remained members of the commonwealth, and they will testify that they have benefited emensely from their look West policy.
    Any progressive economy, looks to do business with the west and diplomacy is a two way thing.

    How does making a whole trip to India, for a dance festival or falling asleep during meetings on falling over on a podiums enhance diplomatic ties. The host leader of the country of your visit was busy dealing with his country’sissues while you take the old man to the flea markets, in your quest to look East. When are you guys going to wake up?

    Grow up, as much as I dislike mugabe, I think you guys are now overdoing, your abuse and taking advantage of his advanced age. (Since calling him old, is now a criminal offence).

    You are sabotaging the state not the old man, you need to be ashamed of yourselves, all of you need to be arrested for abusing the office of the state president. I don’t like the old man but please put a stop to this. You make him read wrong speeches, now you’re making him look like columbus.

  • World Citizen


  • Teejola

    Joseph Goebbels utterances as usual. Silly

  • Nhamo Yousavi

    Mr Charamba’s list of excuses is the perfect definition of cognitive dissonance.
    It is a well known fact that President Mugabe is the world’s most travelled leader however this fact hasn’t realized any benefits for the country and this remains as stubborn a reality now as it was before the advent of sanctions.
    A democracy caters to the majority and the Indian community in Zimbabwe is negligibly small compared to the blacks. Most Indians are wealthy, whereas most blacks are poor. Why console them by visiting their old country? They’re free to return if they yearn for Mother India. Hanti they’re here willingly?
    Why do we maintain consulates in all these foreign places if the president insists on showing up to every event in person?
    Does not his frequent travelling defeat the very purpose for which embassies exist?
    If a head of State attends a private event why is the taxpayer forced to foot the bill? As the public, we are privy to all activities our Leader carries out in our name as the people of Zimbabwe. He is a public figure. Are you suggesting that the President conducts private business on the public tab?
    In fact it is your job, Mr Charamba, to fill us in on His Excellency’s achievements and not to go to extreme lengths applying lipstick on a pig.

  • maita

    Did he go to India?

  • Sinyoro

    Charamba haikona kuzama kuisa perfume pamuviri wechidembo. Hachifi chakarega kunhuwa

  • Mwalimu


  • blaz

    india has 1.2 billion people saka if 3 million attendend it doesnt matter…Second which other head of states were there?


    I repeat again. India is the same country that dumped dilapidated equipment at HCC, having forked out a cool $32m.

    • theheraldonline

      We hope this repeat does not turn into spam.

      • Tichayana

        Just a suggestion, hoping staffing and budget are not the major constraints, to avoid some forum repeats perhaps moderators could regularly ensure a more rapid turnaround time in publishing comments. I know from personal experience I’ve sometimes repeated comments after waiting more than 5 or 6 hours to see their appearance thinking they’ve been lost somewhere in the post. Excessive delays frequently destroy the flow of meaningful exchange of ideas and comments within these forum threads.

        • theheraldonline

          Thanks Tichayana. Thanks a lot. Good idea…we will work to improve the turn-around time for comments.

          • Jamba mu zimbabwe

            Please do. The problem is that some comments are really very informative and some of us read these comments in the evening. If they are deleted then we will not read them. However I hope the moderator will use his/her judgement in this case, the proviso being that he publishes all views including those which are not necessarily in support of the paper`s policy.

          • theheraldonline

            True Jamba mu zimbabwe. Our wish is to have all different views on the various issues we cover as a news platform. And most importantly, our followers are not passive and as such we will never let them down by trying to muzzle them. We want everyone to participate here since this is now a global trend. We only appeal and advise participants to abide by the Terms and Conditions available at the bottom of our sites. These are modeled around our national laws as well as ethics that promote unity and self respect. Thanks very much colleagues.

    • Hachi1

      Ko veEssar hanzi chiiwo paZisco apo?

  • Bro Themba

    I’m sorry but why cant people around the Pres just admit that they did not research about the festival ?Everytime something goes wrong the private media gets the blame.zanu factions -its private media’s fault ,wrong speech-its sanctions, Chiadzwa-dont get me started.

  • Japana Hapana

    Can’t agree more

  • Dr Newton Galileo Einsten

    By the way Charity Manyeruke, Gabriel Chaibva, Joram Nyathi and their like – you brilliant views on these developments please. Only you can tell us the story behind the story! And the uninteresting Bishop Lazarus or something?? Or maybe you have specific instructions to “analyse” Mujuru and Tsvangirai

  • Keith Rufaro

    Mr Bigmouth stop selling us a red herring we all know your investment policies are a pie in the air.

  • Telescope

    Apa ma tadza ku spinner va Charamba….at times the truth and nothing else but the truth will set you free. Kana Mavhoko acho cannot gain traction pafembera fembera iyi. Where is our President??? Maybe I will check pa twitter ya Jonso, he has a way of telling it as it is.

  • Chappie

    Good Grief but you are stupid. You should actually be brain dead.

    • Dr Newton Galileo Einsten

      hahahahahahah the clever ones say just that ! It’s honourable to say your thoughts . You make yourself an unrepentant fool by remarking like this , a comment devoid of facts. Wonder where you came from . I have no words for you

  • Zuruvi

    Mr. Charamba what have been smoking?

  • Isac Hunt

    I must say, most coments in the paper these days are negative towards Zanu pf. How did they ever win an election? Is it possibel they may have cheated?

    • Guest Zvangu

      The incompetence is being proudly displayed openly,ndiyo reason yacho

  • Nhamo Yousavi

    Vachitiza mamansion nhai. Iye Charamba is part of the organizing committee.

  • Chipyanisu Changu

    What an utter hoghwash. The President, we know that for a fact, and it can be seen on all flight tracking website, never ever went to India. The plane did not even fly towards India and then changed plans. The flight went straight fron Harare to Singapore, all the data is available from the authorities. Don’t you thik it is time you arrogant buggers start telling us the truth? You waste our money on stupid trips that bring Zimbabwe nothing but ridicule from the rest of the world and fro,m the citizens. **. The Charambas of this world, despite being mere technoicrats, still have**. It is time we remove you from office. You sold out Zimbabwe, and you kept the nation stupid, so they would believe nonsense like this article. But well, every people get the gvernment they deserve. We let you get away with it, no we suffer. but not for long now….

  • Nhamo Yousavi

    Challenge him to reveal whose idea this was. Let the responsible parties explain their actions.
    At this point nothing short of as inquisition is in order.

  • Nhamo Yousavi

    Iwe how did the Herald err in delivering you this juice over which you rant and rave?
    Hanti basa ravo ndere kuti unzira nhau isu toona yekutamba neziviso?
    Kungo bvunzawo nekuti vamwe vedu this is exactly the news we look forward to reading every day.
    Siya Herald iite basa rayo.