Archive for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Australia has asked for political asylum just days before her term ends saying she fears for her safety if she goes home. Jacqueline Zwambila, who is a member of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was appointed to Australia to renew ties between the countries after a unity government was formed in Zimbabwe in 2009. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai shared power with veteran leader Robert Mugabe in the unity government until a July 31 election which Mugabe won. The opposition rejected the vote as fraudulent but it was largely endorsed by African observers as free and credible. “I am not going to be returning to Zimbabwe,” Zwambila told Australia’s Fairfax media. Zwambila said the election had been “stolen” by an “illegitimate” government and she would not feel safe going home. Zwambila, who was recalled along with other envoys after Mugabe took office again, has been accused in Zimbabwe of conduct not befitting a diplomat, media in Zimbabwe has reported. Zwambila has voiced fears of detention if she were to return home, saying she had been threatened with arrest in Zimbabwe after a court found that she owed some money to a tradesman. She denies the charge. Australia joined the United States and Britain in questioning the credibility of the July election.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Australia Ms Jacqueline Zwambila stands to lose property worth over US$2 700 that is set to be attached from her Norton home after she failed to settle a debt. According to a report by the Zanu PF controlled Sunday Mail newspaper this follows the successful application for a default judgment by a local construction company that accuses Ms Zwambila of failing to settle a US$2 429 debt emanating from renovations done at her house in January this year. Chaliff Construction recently won a default judgment that saw its director, Crispen Dangirwa, being armed with a warrant of execution to recover the sum of US$2 769 through attaching property from the envoy’s home.
The case in which Zimbabwe’s controversial ambassador to Australia Jacqueline Zwambila is suing a journalist for defaming her following an allegation that she stripped naked before embassy staff members began. Zwambila reportedly stripped her clothes in front of embassy staff in protest that they were leaking information to the state media. She however managed to bring an Australian newspaper that re-published the news to its knees as she snatched an out of court settlement of at least 60,000 dollars. The major reason used for pulling down the Australian paper was that their journalists failed to obtain her personal comment before publishing the story. But not long after that, she triggered greater suspicion as she ironically ignored and continued to snub journalists seeking consultation on the same matter.
A case of murder and attempted murder has been opened over the killing of Zimbabwean embassy official Lucky Hakueri at the weekend, according to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). It was reported in The Star newspaper on Monday that Hakueri was shot dead in his car in Pretoria, allegedly after a police officer mistook him for a hijacker. While authorities and the Zimbabwean embassy both said the embassy could not provide much information, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate said that investigations into the incident had begun. The directorate’s national spokesman, Moses Dlamini, said that the investigation was in its early stages and the postmortem was to be conducted. While Tamuka Muranga of the Zimbabwean embassy would not be drawn to comment on the matter on Monday, a staff member at the embassy told BDlive that elders in Hakueri’s family had been notified of his death and would make their way from Zimbabwe.
Police have remained tight-lipped about the killing of an official of the Zimbabwean embassy at the weekend. Lucky Hakueri, 37, a security official at the embassy, was shot and killed, allegedly by a police officer in Glenwood Road in Lynnwood on Saturday after apparently him and a friend were mistaken for possible lawbreakers. Family members and witnesses said Hakueri and his best friend were waiting outside a friend’s complex in Glenwood Road at about 2pm. They were approached by an officer from the Garsfontein police station who was in civilian clothes and allegedly holding an R5 rifle. The pair had arranged to meet their friend to play tennis and were waiting for her to open the gate. “I guess I took too long to open the gate and I heard shots. At the time, I had no idea Lucky was involved,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. She thought the officer had suspected Hakueri and his friend were criminals. The pair in turn thought the officer was a hijacker, as he was not in uniform, and they sped off. The officer, according to Hakueri’s family and his friend’s wife, opened fire because he thought they were speeding off to evade arrest. In an attempt to escape, Hakueri crashed his car into another vehicle nearby. Both the men were shot from behind, after which Hakueri lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall. Hakueri’s wife, Sarah Sande, was at work in Joburg at the time. Provincial police spokesman, Lungelo Dlamini declined to discuss the matter, saying it was now in the hands of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). Zimbabwe’s deputy ambassador had gone to the police to try to get an explanation of what prompted the shooting, Sande said.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry says it summoned the United States ambassador to protest harassment of Zimbabwean leaders at the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York. The ministry said in a statement the country’s foreign minister was denied diplomatic privileges when leaving John F. Kennedy airport after last month’s U.N. summit. Earlier, the U.S. State Department reminded President Robert Mugabe and his aides they were prohibited from traveling beyond a 25 mile (40 kilometer) radius of the U.N. headquarters under American travel and banking sanctions targeting Zimbabwean leaders accused of human and democratic rights violations. A U.S. entry visa ban on Mugabe and his entourage is routinely waived for U.N. meetings.
Zimbabwe fell short of accusing Britain of smuggling thousands of small radios into the country, which were being distributed “illegally” in rural areas – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party says in order to aid its rivals in elections due this year. Without naming the foreign mission responsible, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba said the Foreign Affairs Ministry was exploring “the complicity of this embassy”, adding: “Soon people will be summoned.” Mugabe’s Zanu PF party maintains a tight grip on the airwaves. So-called “pirate” radio stations broadcasting from England, the United States and the Netherlands are regularly jammed. It is believed the radios – which have seen dozens of NGO activists arrested – are manufactured by a United Kingdom-based company, Lifeline Energy. The wind-up and solar-powered radios have an audio storage capacity of 64 gigabytes and can receive FM, AM and Show Wave signals. If Zimbabwe carries through its threat to summon Britain’s ambassador, this would mark a significant escalation of tensions between the two countries. Relations have been frayed since Mugabe’s government embarked on land reforms in 2000 which targeted farms owned by descendents of British colonialists. Charamba added in a statement: “We are investigating to see whether this was consistent with the provisions of the Vienna Convention. We are also keen to understand the interests of that embassy by bringing that consignment using its diplomatic status. “We are also investigating the institutions which received those radios for distribution countrywide.”