ITU: Mugabe Hits ITU Show Floor

7:20 AM -- GENEVA -- ITU Telecom World 2009 -- So he did turn up. (See ITU: Mugabe Set for Geneva.)

Only a day after opening his country's new parliamentary session, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe flew to Geneva Wednesday to participate in a meeting of ministers discussing the impact of ICT (Information Communication Technology) on their countries. (He also allegedly managed a trip to the bank...)

In his presentation, Mugabe included some of his usual accusations against foreign powers -- Western countries are trying to destabilize Zimbabwe by bombarding it with radio waves, for example -- before he took to the show floor, accompanied by his attendant bodyguards, a swarm of photographers, and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Deputy Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao.

He spent a few minutes at the China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) stand (see picture below), where Light Reading got close enough for a picture, before heading to the Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) booth and the Nigerian pavilion.

It was rather surreal to be in such close proximity to a despot, and see the bemused faces of stand staff as he walked down the show floor aisles surrounded by his entourage. But it was also a stark reminder that a single individual can, under the wrong circumstances and with enough power, impact the lives of so many people, mostly for the worse.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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