The African Union (AU) Foundation has commended President Robert Mugabe, other leaders as well as invited delegates from the business and academic sectors who adhered to the African Economic Platform (AEP) dress code as specified by the organisers.

This follows claims by some social media and various online publications that insinuated that Cde Mugabe was not dressed appropriately when he appeared in a Cuban style shirt for the official opening of the AEP.

The AU Foundation, which organised the AEP, specified in its invitations that the dress code for participants at the summit should be smart casual.

AU Foundation Chief Operations Officer, Mr Dumisani Mngadi commended President Mugabe, other leaders, captains of industry and intellectuals from across the continent for respecting the request by the organisers.

Mauritius Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, who delivered welcome remarks during the official opening session, also observed the dress code, while almost all the delegates who were making some presentations also ditched the suit and tie.

“If Africa is serious about intra-Africa trade, then people should start appreciating locally made garments,” Mr Mngadi said.

Presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba weighed in saying: “The trouble is that we are so schooled in British dress etiquette that any departure from it amounts to scruffiness, and it is more interesting that the President was putting on a Cuban shirt. So in their estimate, anything that departs from British sartorial tradition passes for scruffiness, that is how colonised they are.”

The AEP is an initiative driven by Africans to provide policy space for Africans to set their own agenda and explore realistic continental and global opportunities for implementing the agenda.