THE Government has condemned the United States Ambassador, Mr Brian Nichols, for over stepping his mandate by dabbling in Zimbabwe’s internal politics in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In a statement yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo also condemned moves by the US to place State Security Minister Owen Ncube under sanctions.
In the run-up to the Sadc Anti-Zimbabwe Sanctions Day last Friday by Sadc member countries, Mr Nichols and the embassy embarked on a crusade to discredit the campaign by making counter arguments on the effects of the punitive sanctions on the country.
“The unfortunate statement made by the US Ambassador on the occasion of the Sadc Anti-Zimbabwe Sanctions Day on 25 October, exhibited a clear contravention of acceptable diplomatic etiquette, was grossly partisan in nature and reflected not only a worrying lack of respect for the host Government but was also abusive of the hospitality of the people of Zimbabwe as a whole,” said Dr Moyo.
“Compounding these statements was the wholly unjustified imposition of US sanctions on the Honourable Owen Ncube, Minister of State Security.”
Dr Moyo said while Zimbabweans are welcoming, tolerant and friendly people, it would be a mistake to misinterpret the qualities to mean weakness or that the Government would ignore or tolerate any form of insult and abuse.
“International law helps us to draw a line between the function which a diplomatic mission may exercise and those that it may not. Furthermore, it establishes that, as sovereign nations, all countries in the world enjoy equal rights and protection.
“Clearly, the Convention does not permit Embassies to conduct themselves like opposition citadels, pre-occupying themselves with the constant casting of aspersions, innuendo and even insults at the host Government,” said Dr Moyo.
“It follows, therefore, that the conduct of any diplomat which is openly inimical to the promotion of friendly relations is far removed from the core objectives of the Convention and cannot simply be ignored. Any conduct that violates the generally accepted and legally recognised functions of diplomats, constitutes the abuse of diplomatic privilege.”
Dr Moyo said no diplomat should allow themselves to behave or conduct themselves like a member of the opposition with complete disregard for diplomatic protocol.
He said it was unacceptable for the Ambassador to portray as fact unsubstantiated allegations or rumours against the Government, some of which would still be under investigation by law enforcement or other Government agencies. “Persistent behaviour of this nature will test the patience of even the most tolerant among us. It would be a very sad day if dialogue between the US Embassy and this Ministry, and Government more broadly, were to collapse completely under its present leadership, such that we would end up just ignoring or even avoiding each other.
“We genuinely seek dialogue with all well-meaning countries as part of our re-engagement efforts. But our openness and innate generosity of spirit of all Zimbabweans should not be taken for granted and should certainly not be abused,” said Dr Moyo.
“We have means to bring this to an end, should we deem it necessary or should we be pushed too far.”