Archive for Africa
Controversy is surrounding a meeting between U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, and new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The controversy is not so much about the meeting but what happened during the photo opportunity when Schwartz gave Farmajo a hat bearing a slogan that appears to be derived from President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” After the meeting, the Twitter account of the U.S. Mission tweeted about the meeting posting a message that read, “US2SOM Amb Schwartz had a fruitful mtng w Pres Farmaajo 2day + presented the Pres with a cap “MAKE SOM GREAT AGAIN.” The photo attached with the message shows the two men shaking hands and holding the hat. Most Twitter users thought the gift was a diplomatic misstep; others were harsher and said the timing for such a message was inappropriate because of Trump’s recent immigration travel ban that affected seven Muslim-majority nations, including Somalia.
Zimbabwe’s diplomats in Europe are using battered cars with some relying on fellow African envoys’ transport to attend business, a government report has revealed. One such diplomat is Rudo Mabel Chitiga, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to France. According to a recent report by the Parliamentary Portfolio on Foreign Affairs, to the speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, Chitiga’s car failed to start when she had visited a fellow African diplomat in Paris recently. “The first incident involved our ambassador in Paris whose official car couldn’t start when she had visited her Namibian counterpart and was forced, under humiliating circumstances, to use the Namibian ambassador’s car back to her office. This is because the car she is using has already outlived its life span,” said the report.
A US diplomat has been arrested in Nairobi for fleeing the scene of a road rage clash with another driver where local police claim he brandished a gun. The diplomat, who has not been named, was disarmed by police after the incident on Sunday, according to authorities in the Kenyan capital. While it’s not clear what prompted the row, Robinson Thuku, chief of police in Nairobi’s central business district, said it was ‘obvious’ it had been a traffic incident. The US embassy confirmed his arrest but denied local authorities’ accusation he drew his gun. Police fired their weapons three times to stop the diplomat, an Associated Press photographer at the scene said. The State Department has not released the US diplomat’s name but said it was working to assist him. There was no answer from the US embassy in Nairobi.
A list of eight foreign-based diplomats are under investigation by the State Security Agency after they were convicted of various offences – including a case of culpable homicide. According to a report by the Sunday Independent, the investigation will decide if the Department of International Relations and Co-operation should withdraw the security clearance of the diplomats before they could be expelled. Former ANC chief whip, Stone Sizani, who was redeployed to the position of South Africa’s ambassador to Germany less than a year ago, is among those in hot water, having been found guilty of public violence and violating the Value Added Tax Act, the paper reported. Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane, meanwhile was arrested after attending a prohibited gathering, and diplomat Mthembisi Mjikeliso was convicted for culpable homicide in Botswana, the article said. The Sunday Independent also reported that political counsellor in Bulgaria, BP Motloung, was arrested for reckless and negligent driving in Sofia, while P Mukeni is also under investigation due to a similar offense. In a recent written reply in Parliament, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said no decision had been taken on the future of these diplomats.
Zimbabwe has sharply criticized the United States for expressing concern about its human rights record, saying U.S. critics “can go hang on a banana tree.” Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper also quoted presidential spokesman George Charamba as saying U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. is “a leftover from a terrible era.” Charamba appeared to be referring to past U.S. administrations that have had testy relations with Zimbabwe. On Monday, the U.S. Embassy expressed deep concern about what it called the “continuing deterioration” of human rights in Zimbabwe.
A High Court in Kenya has issued a warrant of arrest against a military attaché at South Sudan Embassy in Kenya after a case of mysterious disappearance of two South Sudanese opposition officials in Nairobi recently. The court had issued a warrant of arrest against a South Sudanese military attaché based in Kenya to appear in court to give an account of the disappearance of the two opposition officials. “So, based on the information obtained by the Kenyan authorities, the court decided to issue a warrant of arrest against a South Sudanese national who is a military attaché at the South Sudanese embassy in Nairobi here, he was linked to the kidnapping of Aggrey Idri and Dong Samuel,” he said. Pouk declined to identify the military attaché summoned by the Kenyan court.
A former Zambian diplomat to Germany has been found with a case to answer for allegedly engaging girls to practice prostitution. Friday Nkamba, a former political secretary at the Zambian Embassy in Germany from 1994 to 2002, has since been put on his defence. Nkamba, of Emmasdale Township in Lusaka, is alleged to have between January 1, 2012 and October 29, 2013 procured five girls to become common prostitutes. The girls testified how Nkamba would allow them to stay in his house while doing prostitution in exchange for payments. They also testified how on other times the former diplomat would join them in bed and have sex with any one of them in full view of the other girls. Resident magistrate William Banda found Nkamba with a case to answer. The matter was adjourned to October 31 for mention and setting of a date when he would open his defence.