Zim opposition concerned over envoy's asylum bid

2013-12-28 21:56
Jacqueline Zwambila. (Mark Graham, AFP)

Jacqueline Zwambila. (Mark Graham, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Saturday said it was "concerned" after Harare's ambassador to Australia asked Canberra for asylum, citing fears for her safety if she returns home.

Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila earlier told Australian media that her country's July elections had been "stolen" by President Robert Mugabe's government and that she did not feel safe going back to Zimbabwe once her posting ends on Tuesday.

Zwambila, who is aligned with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was appointed in 2009 by the MDC's former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai who lost the presidential vote to veteran leader Mugabe.

"No one would raise a red flag unnecessarily and as a party we remain cautious and concerned after Ambassador Zwambila expressed concern over her personal safety," Nelson Chamisa, a spokesperson for the MDC, told AFP.

"What we know for sure is that relations between her and the government were frosty and it's difficult for us to assure her security as we are not in government."

In a statement, the MDC said it had learned that the government had decided to recall MDC-aligned ambassadors without reassigning them.

Attempts to reach the foreign ministry for comment were unsuccessful.

Zwambila said she was seeking a protection visa so she can stay on in Australia with her family once her diplomatic status expires. But it was not immediately clear whether Canberra would approve her request.

"I don't feel safe about returning to Zimbabwe at all," Zwambila said in a video posted on the Canberra Times website, branding the current government "illegitimate".

Zwambila voiced fears of indefinite detention if she went back, saying she had been threatened with arrest after a court found that she owed several hundred dollars to a tradesman. She denied the charge.

"So many things have been done to me since I've been here in Australia, the smear campaigns and threats... There is no way I feel safe being in Zimbabwe or going back to Zimbabwe," she said.

While in Australia, Zwambila was accused of exposing herself but was cleared by a Zimbabwean government probe and in court in Australia, according to the MDC.

The election win by Mugabe, in power for 33 years, saw Australia join the United States and Britain in questioning the credibility of the polls.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  australia  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.


24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.