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Mugabe-Appointed Ambassadors Face Diplomatic Problems


Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe (file)

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe (file)

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has asked various European countries, the United Nations, and South Africa not to recognize six ambassadors he says were unilaterally appointed to the top diplomatic posts by President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has written to several countries asking them not to recognize ambassadors appointed in July by President Robert Mugabe to Sweden, Italy, the European Union, South Africa and the United Nations.

A senior Western diplomatic source in Harare said some of the ambassadors have already presented their credentials to host governments, and are therefore properly in their posts.

The European Union says it has accepted Mr. Mugabe's appointee, Margaret Machada, as Zimbabwe ambassador designate to Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. She is in Brussels, but has not yet presented her credentials, so is unable yet to carry out diplomatic duties.

Diplomats say European officials will consider Mr. Tsvangirai's request to not accredit her.

Mr. Tsvangairi's letter to the countries says neither the prime minister nor any of his Movement for Democratic Change colleagues in the inclusive government Cabinet recognize the six diplomats appointed by Mr. Mugabe.

Mr. Tsvangirai's anger was sparked a week ago, when he said President Mugabe informed him that 10 provincial governors had been appointed.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai said he was not consulted on the appointment and this is a contravention of the two-year-old political agreement that led to the inclusive government in February 2009. The political agreement says "key" public appointments have to be made in consultation with the prime minister.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, during the 2nd Afro- Arab summit in Sirte, Libya, 10 Oct 2010

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, during the 2nd Afro- Arab summit in Sirte, Libya, 10 Oct 2010

In August, the Southern African Development Community said Mr. Mugabe had agreed new provincial governors would be appointed in consultation with Mr. Tsvangirai.

Mr. Mugabe's spokesman was not available for comment Monday.

Zimbabwe's upper house, the Senate, meets in parliament Tuesday and Mr. Mugabe's unilateral public appointments are on its agenda for debate.

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