The Herald (Harare)

15 November 2010

Zimbabwe: Recall Zwambila

editorial

The behaviour of our ambassador to Australia, Ms Jacqueline Zwambila, who allegedly stripped to her bra and panties before three shocked male embassy staff to protest the alleged leaking of the embassy's website, deserves the strongest censure possible that is termination of her nascent diplomatic career.

We say so because Ms Zwambila's gaffes are on the ascendancy and we shudder to think what she could do next to the detriment of our national image.

For instance in April this year, Ms Zwambila called for the partial lifting of the West's ruinous economic sanctions with a bias towards companies that fall under ministries run by MDC-T ministers. On that occasion, which was supposed to coincide with our 30th independence celebrations, Ms Zwambila also brewed another shocker when she ensured that those verses of our national anthem to do with the liberation struggle and preservation of the gains of independence were omitted from the rendition of the national anthem that was delivered during the occasion.

As if that was not enough, earlier last week she set up a scandalous website, which she passed for the embassy website, on which she claimed there are no economic sanctions on Zimbabwe at a time progressive Zimbabweans, and our brothers and sisters in Sadc, are seized with lobbying for the lifting of the ruinous economic sanctions that Sadc acknowledges are not only affecting Zimbabwe but the region as a whole.

Pursuant to this, Namibia, in its capacity as Sadc chair, summoned the US ambassador over Washington's continued maintenance of the discredited embargo on Zimbabwe. Namibia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Utoni Nujoma, recently said they had summoned Ambassador Gail Dennise Mathieu to express their displeasure over the US's economic embargo.

Misguided, self-serving utterances from the likes of Ms Zwambila detract from these noble actions by our brothers in Sadc, which is why we say Ms Zwambila should be immediately recalled to be replaced by a diplomat worth his/her salt.

What is disturbing about the shocking news from Australia was not only the fact that the ambassador, who is supposed to be representing one of the most respected leaders in Africa -- President Mugabe -- showed herself to be no better than the average stripper when her diplomatic training should set her apart from those who use their bodies for leverage, but the fact that in her wisdom or lack of it, she believed that information posted on the web could be deemed secret.

Now if this is the calibre of the person we hope represents the interests of an entire, largely literate nation of 13 million people, then we have another thought coming.

Ms Zwambila, it seems, believes she is the MDC-T ambassador to Australia, not the Zimbabwean envoy.

In case she is not aware, she is in Australia to represent President Mugabe, who is the Head of State and Government, not Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who is chief minister in President Mugabe's government.

We all know President Mugabe's stance on the liberation struggle, the preservation of our independence and sovereignty and the illegal Western economic sanctions.

Ms Zwambila, regardless of her opinion on these issues, is duty-bound to parrot the position of the Government that posted her to Canberra.

In failing to articulate President Mugabe's and Zimbabwe's views, Ms Zwambila has proved unworthy of the post of ambassador, and should be recalled so she can pursue her new-found passions.

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