Visiting Kofi Annan says no time for Mugabe

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By Staff Reporter

HARARE: A delegation of The Elders council of respected international personalities led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said Saturday that they did not have time to see former President Robert Mugabe.

Leaders visiting Zimbabwe after the November coup which toppled the former Zanu PF strongman have ordinarily taken time to visit him at his Blue Roof mansion in Harare.

However, in response to questions from journalists, Annan who was flanked by former Irish President Mary Robinson said their programme had been too hectic.

“We were not able to come in 2008 when we attempted to talk to our brothers (then),” he said.

“This time we are here for a very short time. We have a hectic programme and, honestly, we have not sought to speak with him (Mugabe.”

In 2008 Mugabe angrily rejected Annan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former South African First Lady Graca Machel entry into the country as they sought to help find a solution to Zimbabwe’s political crisis in the aftermath of a bloody run-off election from which the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai had pulled out citing state sponsored violence that had left thousands displaced and hundreds killed.

Meawnhile, Robinson said Zimbabwe had changed since the ’90s when she paid a state visit.

“It’s a different country. We hope the election goes on well, so the country can concentrate on development,” she said.

“We hope this will be a violent free election. This election will be closely followed by the international community and the signals of a free and fair election sent by the President are sustained.”