President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe suddenly cancelled his participation at a cultural festival in India, citing “poor security”.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesman, said the president who had been in the Asian country was to return home.
“The cancellation follows communication from organisers of the festival acknowledging substantial inadequacies in protocol and security arrangements around the event,” he said.
Mugabe, who left Zimbabwe on Monday, was scheduled to be guest of honour at the World Culture Festival held in India by the Art of Living, a private educational and humanitarian organisation that advocates for peace.
Report says the event is a celebration of peace in multiculturalism and ecumenicity.
Charamba said security inadequacies had resulted in several invited heads of state and government, including the Indian president, withdrawing their participation at the event.
He noted that the event was not organised by the Indian government, but by a private organisation and that Mugabe had intended to use the occasion to further diplomatic ties with India.
“This is not a state event, the president was then going to take advantage of that private event to further develop relations with the Indian government,” he said.
The opposition in Zimbabwe has often criticised Mugabe for his numerous foreign trips and urged him to cut on foreign travel to save money for the cash-strapped government.