Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Zimbabwe

Newsline: Zimbabweans in South Africa Storm Embassy in Pretoria to Demand Voting Rights

Scores of Zimbabweans living in South Africa stormed the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria, demanding the right to vote in the 2018 general elections, reports said. According to News Day, the protesters first gathered at the Union Buildings before proceeding to the Zimbabwean embassy to present their petition. Reports late last year indicated that Zimbabwe’s three million or so diasporans were most certainly not going to be allowed to vote in the upcoming elections unless they came home twice – once to register and then again to vote.


Newsline: South African embassy staff accused of bribery in Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans seeking work or study permits in South Africa have called for the censure of two South African embassy officials, whom they accuse of demanding bribes to process their permits. The two were identified as Mrs Grace Segkole and a Mr Malebogo. Some of the victims of the alleged corruption, who spoke to The Herald said the two officials should either be reassigned or relieved of their duties.


Newsline: Namibian Embassy to the Rescue As Zimbabwe Envoy’s Car Breaks Down in France

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.


Newsline: Zimbabwe tells US Embassy “hang on a banana tree”

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.


Newsline: US embassy Denies Threatening New Zimbabwe Sanctions Over Russia Ties

The US embassy has refuted media reports claiming Washington threatened to impose new sanctions on Zimbabwe over country’s economic relations with Russia. The government last month inked a $3billion deal with Russia to establish what would be the Zimbabwe’s largest platinum mine. The US has recently imposed sanctions against Russia on allegations of providing military backing to Ukrainian separatists and generally destabilising the region. State media, at the weekend, claimed that Washington was trying to sabotage the platinum deal and threatened to tighten sanctions imposed in 2003 over allegations of rights abuse and electoral fraud. However, the US embassy in Harare told NewZimbabwe.com that there was no truth to the allegations. Embassy spokesperson, Karen Kelley, said there is no link between sanctions Washington imposed on Russia and those the country placed on President Robert Mugabe more than a decade ago. “Regarding the recent reports in the local media in Zimbabwe, I can say that there is no link between U.S. sanctions on Russia and the targeted sanctions policy on a limited number of individuals and entities in Zimbabwe.


Newsline: US embassy denies ‘buying’ Zimbabwe’s MPs

The US Embassy in Zimbabwe has denied reports that 12 Zanu PF MPs had sold out classified party information to the Americans in exchange for financial assistance under the Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund. In a statement, Karen Kelley US Embassy counsellor for public relations said: “We would like to correct the impression generated by recent articles in The Herald and Sunday Mail, which alleged that local legislators aligned to Zanu PF were recipients of the US Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund. This assertion is in error; no Zimbabwean MPs have received any funding through this programme.” Kelley said no Zimbabwean MP has ever benefited from the fund, which has existed since 1980. She said MPs were only consulted as a matter of courtesy. State media reported that the MPs were meeting senior US officials including Eric Little, believed to be a member of the Central Intelligence Agency, under the guise of the Ambassador’s Self Help-Fund to give him information on the goings-on in the party.


Newsline: Zimbabwe’s Former Envoy Sues Australian-based Writer for U.S $200,000

Australian-based ZANU PF writer Reason Wafawarova could be forced to pay as much as $200,000 in damages for claiming that a former Zimbabwean envoy to that country stripped in front of embassy staff. Former ambassador Jacqueline Zvambila filed for a lawsuit in 2011, claiming that Wafawarova defamed her when he published the article in the Zimbabwean state media in 2010. Zvambila said the article had followed her everywhere and that her name had been stigmatised while dignity had been taken away from the country. The Supreme Court in Australia struck out Wafawarova’s defence in December after he failed to provide relevant documents and after he breached other court orders. That decision paved the way for the April costs hearing, during which Wafawarova attempted to stop the lawsuit from going ahead. During that hearing Zvambila’s lawyers submitted before the court that Wafawarova was liable to pay between $175,000 and $200,000 in damages, including costs. According to the Canberra Times newspaper, a judge then reserved the decision on the amount to be paid to Zvambila, who is also claiming asylum in Australia.