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So disrespectful! Isn’t it basic presidential protocol to meet with other world leaders and their families when they visit your country?

Mr Zuma was out of the country for the first day of Mrs Obama’s second solo trip abroad on Tuesday and although he returned on Monday night, aides said he was “not available” to meet her.

Instead, he arranged for Corrective Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to greet her on her arrival in Pretoria on Monday night, and one of his three wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, to meet her briefly on Tuesday.

Mrs Obama, her daughters Sasha and Malia and her mother Marian Robinson, were also granted a rare audience with 92-year-old former president Nelson Mandela at his Johannesburg home.

It was Mrs Obama’s first encounter with the global icon, although her husband Barack Obama met him when still a senator on a 2006 Africa tour. When Mrs Obama made her first solo trip, to Mexico, she was guest of honour at a state dinner hosted by President Calderón and his wife.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma issued a sharp riposte to an appeal by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to African leaders to help remove Libya’s Col Muammar Gaddafi.

“We strongly believe that the (UN Security Council) resolution is being abused for regime change, political assassinations and foreign military occupation,” he told parliament the day after Mrs Clinton’s speech.

South African officials insisted that Mr Zuma was simply busy – and Mrs Obama had rejected the offer of a meeting at 9am on Wednesday because she was making a speech in Soweto.

“Even when the president is in South Africa, he is not on holiday and cannot meet anybody at any time,” he said. “Why is he not meeting the head of state of an African country who is coming to South Africa? Because he has a schedule.” Clayson Monyela, spokesman for South Africa’s foreign office, said that since Mrs Obama is not a head of state or cabinet minister, there was no onus on Mr Zuma to meet her.

“It’s totally wrong to suggest this is a snub,” he said.

Damn, “no onus” to meet with Lady Obama? That was totally politically incorrect, right? SMH




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