Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Zimbabwe

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.



Newsline: US freezes Zimbabwean embassy account

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.


Newsline: Former Kenyan embassy staff in Zimbabwe charged with theft

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.


Newsline: Zimbabwe to Set Up ‘Diamond’ Embassy in Dubai

President Robert Mugabe’s government has moved to set up an embassy in the United Arab Emirates. The embassy, it would seem, will have no major diplomatic task to handle except to oversee the sale of the country’s diamond exports to the rich country, an international hub for diamond trade. Mugabe flew off to Dubai Saturday to land support to the task as well as cut a few deals with the Arabs, as his government battles to revive an economy that could soon start failing to pay its workers. Mugabe, 90, is hard pressed to find a quick solution to the country’s worsening economic situation as companies continue to shut down citing viability problems while offloading thousands onto the country’s jobless market. Ever since diamonds were discovered in Chiadzwa 2006, Zimbabweans are yet to realise the full benefits of their country’s diamond endowment.


Newsline: Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to Boycott AU-EU Summit Over Wife Snub

President Robert Mugabe will not attend a European Union-Africa summit next week if his wife is denied a visa to travel with him. Mugabe, 90, and his wife Grace are subject to travel bans by the EU because of allegations about human rights abuses and election-rigging but the union allowed Zimbabwe’s sole ruler to attend the meeting after pressure from the African Union. The two-day summit starts on April 2 in Brussels. “We are sovereign and equals and the EU cannot decide on our delegations. The president, and Zimbabwe will not be there if they continue to hold out on the visa,” Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba said. EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia told a local radio station on Friday the bloc had not given a visa to Grace because there was no program for wives of presidents and there was no need for her to attend.


Newsline: Kenya’s ex-embassy attache refuses to take plea

A former financial attache at the Kenyan Embassy in Zimbabwe declined to take a plea over allegations of misappropriation of Sh5 million while on duty. Margaret Ayumu Katunga, through her lawyer Nzamba Kitonga, told Nairobi Principal Magistrate Peter Ndwiga that the allegations against her can only be handled by a Zimbabwean court. Ms Katunga is facing ten counts of stealing by a person employed in the public service contrary to section 280 of the penal code. The lawyer said the Kenyan court did not have the jurisdiction to listen to the matter as the alleged offence was committed in Zimbabwe. Before the accused takes her plea it must be noted that this court does not have the jurisdiction to hear this case as it was committed outside Kenya. The offence was committed in Harare it can only be heard in Zimbabwe, he said.


Newsline: Zimbabwe ambassador to Australia seeks asylum

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.