Zimbabwe threatens to expel US envoy
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson says United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols has created a basis to “expel himself” after the envoy urged the region to be more proactive in handling the political and economic crisis in the country.
Mnangagwa’s government has reacted angrily to suggestions that Zimbabwe is facing a crisis after a vicious clampdown against dissent that followed the July 31 protests.
Nichols on Friday told South African broadcaster enca that the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) should help stop Zimbabwe from descending into chaos.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba reacted angrily to Nichols’ statements, saying they were undiplomatic.
“Why would you have an ambassador accredited to Zimbabwe featuring on a station when there is a sitting American ambassador to discuss a country hosting him in another country?
“Does it make diplomatic sense to you? “Actually somewhere it is a basis to expel him,” Charamba fumed.
“You give your letters of credence to President Mnangagwa and you go and discuss the host country in South Africa where there is another ambassador?
“Does it make diplomatic sense? It is very provocative actually.
“How does it arise that a person, who delivers letters of credence to Zimbabwe communicates with Zimbabwe over a foreign media, how does that happen?
“Why are you here then? Why do we need you here at all?”
Nichols had said Sadc can play a critical role in helping Zimbabwe return to normalcy.
“The country is facing yet another drought and food insecurity problems. “Sadc can play a vital role in supporting that effort,” he said.
“There are a tremendous number of challenges, let us talk about three specific areas.
“Promoting national dialogue and an inclusive approach to dealing with the country’s very profound challenges.
“Secondly, let us talk about the economy.
“The economy has seen over 800% inflation over the course of last year, basic incomes have not gone up and over 60% of the people need assistance to afford the basic food and market basket for them and the country is facing yet another drought and food insecurity problems and all three of these things require urgent attention and Sadc can play a vital role in support of that.”
Charamba last week also lashed out at South African politicians from both the ruling ANC and the opposition, who are pushing for a regional intervention in Zimbabwe.
He insisted that Zimbabwe had no crisis to warrant any outside intervention.
South African President Cyril Rampahosa last month despatched four envoys to Harare, but they were blocked from meeting the opposition after they held talks with Mnangagwa.
Ramaphosa, however, insisted last week that the envoys would return to Zimbabwe to meet all the protagonists in the Zimbabwe crisis.
Source – the standard