Archive for Zimbabwe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has claimed that Zimbabwean embassy officials failed to access their salaries after the United States government allegedly froze the embassy bank account. Chinamasa made the claims while speaking at the Zimbabwe International Business Conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF). “I could not believe it when I was told that the US had frozen the embassy account and this created problems because we could not send money to pay the embassy workers their salaries. “We advised them to open a new account with a different bank, but this was not possible as every other bank gave them flimsy excuses,” said the minister. According to Chinamasa the bank account was only unfrozen after Zimbabwe took the matter up with the US State Department. The US and the European Union among other western countries imposed sanctions on the Mugabe regime in response to human rights abuses.
A former financial attaché at the Kenyan Embassy in Zimbabwe was charged with stealing over Sh6.6 million while on duty. Ms Margaret Ayumu Katunga faced 11 counts of stealing by a person employed in the Public Service contrary to section 280 of the penal code. The prosecutor informed Principal Magistrate Peter Ndwiga of the anti-corruption court that the accused between September 30, 2009, and September 20, 2012, being a person employed in the Public Service as the financial attache’ in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stole $50,550 the property of the said ministry which came into her possession by virtue of her employment. On a different count Ms Katunga was accused that on September 20, 2010, at the embassy in Harare she allegedly forged a letter dated September 20, 2010.