Zimbabwe’s envoy to Australia asks for asylum

By Drum Digital
28 December 2013

Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia has asked Canberra for asylum, lashing out at her country's "illegitimate" government and voicing fears for her safety if she returns home at the end of her posting next week, reports said Saturday.

Jacqueline Zwambila said July elections in Zimbabwe had been "stolen" by President Robert Mugabe's government and she had no intention of using her business class ticket to return home, the Canberra Times reported.

"I don't feel safe about returning to Zimbabwe at all," said Zwambila, who is aligned with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Once the elections of 31 July were stolen by the current government --which is illegitimate -- I knew that this was the end of the line," Zwambila, whose tenure as ambassador ends on Tuesday, said in a video posted on the Canberra Times website.

"End of the line for the people of Zimbabwe... and for people like me, who were appointed by the ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai."

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

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison would not confirm whether Zwambila had sought asylum, saying he could not comment on individual cases.

"If or when an application for a protection visa is received it would be assessed on its merits and in accordance with the normal rules that apply in these circumstances," he said in a statement.

-Sapa

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