The Zimbabwean government on Monday launched a counter-attack in home media against European leaders who took President Robert Mugabe to task for his record on human rights and governance during the weekend's European-African summit.
The government-controlled Herald newspaper published an article in which it quoted Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu as calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel a “Nazi remnant” and a “racist.” She told the summit on Saturday that human rights were being “trampled underfoot” by Mr. Mugabe’s government, and that the festering crisis in Zimbabwe “damages the image of the new Africa.”
Mr. Mugabe on Sunday lashed out at Merkel and the leaders of Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, calling them the “gang of four” and charging that they were operating under instructions from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who refused to attend the summit because Mr. Mugabe would likely be in attendance.
In the summit aftermath, analysts pondered whether Mr. Mugabe’s appearance at the summit amounted to a political gain or setback in view of his public upbraiding.
Some said the points he scored simply by being there were offset by the criticism he received from European leaders, while others argued that it was effectively a wash as neither he nor his opponents fully achieved their objectives.
From Nairobi, political analyst Brian Kagoro told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe himself seemed likely to feel he scored a victory simply because he and Zimbabwe became the focus of the international media at a summit that was intended to discuss broader multilateral issues.