Harare, December 29, 2013 – A cabinet minister on Saturday broke the silence on alleged defection of the country’s ambassador to Australia, saying that there is no safety threat to the diplomat at home.
Zimbabwe’s out-going ambassador to Australia Jacqueline Zwambila, a member of the opposition MDC-T party, was quoted Friday by several Australian news reports saying that she did not want to return home over safety threats.
“Her remarks are surprising because all the leaders of the MDC- T are here, some of them are members of our Parliament so why does she feel threatened? What is so special about her?” state news agency New Ziana quoted Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi as saying, the first government response to the incident since media broke the news Friday.
“We grant security to each and everyone … If she is threatened by anyone she should tell us as we are responsible for security here as central government,” Mohadi said.
Zwambila was appointed to the post by the then coalition government in 2009, when the current ruling Zanu-PF party shared power with oppositions including Zwambila’s MDC-T party.
The tenure of the coalition government ended this year with Zanu-PF, led by veteran president Robert Mugabe, winning the general elections in July. Western governments including Canberra refused to accept Zanu-PF’s poll victory.
Zwambila, one of the four MDC-T ambassadors being recalled by the government, is scheduled to return to Zimbabwe next Tuesday.
The MDC-T, led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, on Saturday said Zwambila’s decision to seek asylum was personal.
“As a party, the MDC will not make any decision in her seeking asylum because we are unable to redress her genuine concerns and fears,” it said in a statement.
“It is the prerogative of the government of the day to give assurances of security to Ambassador Zwambila that her life is not in any form of danger if she is to return to Zimbabwe.”