Foreign ambassadors taking to political activism in Zimbabwe risk being deported as their conduct contravenes standards of global diplomacy, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.
Yesterday, Minister Mumbengegwi told The Sunday Mail at his Munhumutapa offices that Government will not tolerate errant diplomats and will invoke the relevant conventions to keep them in check.
His comments follow last week’s inference by France’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Laurent Delahousse, that state officials abducted Itai Dzamara, an MDC-T activist.
Dzamara has been missing since March 9, 2015, and Mr Delahousse alleged that he was abducted for “trying to uphold freedom of expression”.
The diplomat said this at French National Day celebrations in Harare, prompting the Foreign Affairs Ministry to read the Riot Act to him.
Minister Mumbengegwi said such accusations raised suspicion that Westerners were the ones who “organised” Dzamara’s disappearance in order to attack Zimbabwe.
“To start with, it is wrong for any diplomat, let alone an Ambassador, to want to utilise National Day celebrations as a forum for political interference in the affairs of the host State. That is supposed to be a ceremonial occasion where both the Ambassador and the host country are represented.
“It was never designed to be a forum to attack each other. This is not to say any diplomat is allowed to interfere in any way; to any extent in the domestic policy of the host country. This is strictly prohibited in terms of the Vienna Convention of 1961.”
He added: “What the French Ambassador did was unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe and this is why he was summoned to Foreign Affairs to explain himself and his feeble attempts to explain himself were totally unsuccessful.
“I take this opportunity to warn the said Ambassador and, indeed, any other foreign diplomat that it is the intention of the Government of Zimbabwe to enforce each and every clause of conventions relating to diplomatic relations among Member States. We will not tolerate any
interference in our domestic affairs.
“These conventions provide the measures that can be taken against such errant diplomats. Zimbabwe definitely does not want to get to that point. Any Ambassador who is politically-inclined must request their governments to recall them so that they can become politicians in their home countries. This is much better if they want to go into politics rather than being assisted by Zimbabwe to go home.”