Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
The return of diplomats recalled by Government from their stations will be staggered until March, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Mr Edwin Mandaza has said. Three out of the 20 recalled ambassadors have since arrived in Zimbabwe. Government recalled 20 of the 47 ambassadors, some of them seconded by MDC-T and MDC during the inclusive Government.
Said Mr Mandaza: “We expect all those who have been recalled to arrive on schedule. Some are expected to arrive at the end of January, others in February and in March.”
Zimbabwe’s top diplomat in Washington, Ambassador Machivenyika Mapuranga, and his counterpart in Cairo, Ambassador Aaron Mabhoyi Ncube, arrived back home last week; while Ambassador to Germany Hebson Makuvise returned on Monday morning.
Mr Makuvise was nominated by MDC-T and assigned to Germany by President Mugabe. There were reports that he had sought asylum in Germany at the expiry of his term but he has denied the claims and when the three reported to the ministry, Mr Mandaza said they did not discuss the asylum reports “because that was a false story”.
The senior career diplomats with distinguished service records are among ambassadors recalled by Government to Harare and now await to know their fate when President Mugabe returns from his annual vacation later this month.
Ambassadors serve four-year terms that can be renewed depending on foreign policy considerations. Contrary to claims by some people, the recalls did not target ambassadors seconded by MDC-T and MDC.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Joey Bimha last week said recalling ambassadors was routine.
This was after former ambassador to Australia Ms Jacqueline Zwambila, who is from MDC-T, applied for asylum in that country citing unfounded threats against her life from the State if she were to return.
MDC-T provided two other ambassadors: Ms Hilda Suka-Mafudze (Sudan) and Ms Mabel Ngulani (Nigeria); while MDC seconded Mrs Trudy Stevenson (Senegal).
Ambassadors Suka-Mafudze, Ngulani and Stevenson have not been recalled.