Parties Jostle for SA Diplomatic Post

THE feuding MDC-T and Zanu PF are headed for a fresh clash over the diplomatic post that will be left vacant when Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, assumes fulltime the national chairmanship of his party.

According to an agreement reached by the two MDC formations and Zanu-PF late last year, the allocation of diplomatic posts is to be decided as and when vacancies arise.

The three parties agreed that the diplomatic vacancies would be shared between MDC-T and MDC-M using a formula based on the March 2008 harmonised elections.

However, it emerged this week that Zanu-PF has decided that Moyo would not relinquish his position in Pretoria but will continue as the country’s ambassador while at the same time chairing the party from the neighbouring country.

Sources within Zanu PF said the party was not comfortable with allowing the MDC-T to take control of the embassy in Pretoria, as Zanu-PF feared the party would take advantage of the posting and use its ambassador to create strong relations with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

“Zanu PF does not want to let go of powerful diplomatic missions as they feel that the MDC-T will have influence if it is offered diplomatic postings in powerful countries,” one of the sources said. “Zanu PF is also afraid that an MDC-T ambassador in Pretoria will work towards creating strong links between the MDC-T and the ANC, so Zanu PF wants Moyo to chair the party from South Africa.”

The source said Zanu PF was prepared to offer the two MDC formations any postings in Europe.

Zanu-PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi however said whether Moyo stayed or moved from Pretoria would depend on what the party leadership decides.

“The party leadership will decide whether there is more work at party headquarters that will warrant Moyo leaving his diplomatic posting,” Masawi said this week. “If the workload is deemed too much, he will come back home but if the party decides that he stays in South Africa he will stay there.”

But MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the issue of who filled the diplomatic posts in South Africa was not under debate.

“Entertaining debate on this matter is a waste of time as the parties agreed on sharing the diplomatic postings and the vacant positions in Brussels and in Pretoria should be filled by the MDC-T, this should not be a grab-and-take all, it should be a give-and-take affair,” Chamisa said.

Chamisa said Moyo should vacate the position in Pretoria as he was now in the top echelons of leadership in Zanu-PF and thus should not hold a diplomatic posting as the parties agreed that diplomats should be apolitical.

“When we allow diplomats to be senior officials holding senior positions in parties we risk having party interests subordinating national interests and as Moyo is in the Zanu PF presidium he should leave his diplomatic job,” Chamisa said.

However, the MDC-M and MDC-T have also appointed other senior party officials as ambassador designates. Trudy Stevenson, a senior MDC-M member, has been appointed Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal and has already been deployed to the West African country.

The other four ambassadors nominated by the MDC-T formation to represent the country abroad are Hebson Makuvise, Hilda Suka-Mafudze, Jacqueline Nomhla Zwambila and Mabed Khumbulani.

Makuvise has been assigned to Germany, Zwambila to Australia, Mafudze to Sudan and Khumbulani to Nigeria.

The four held various senior positions in the party before their posting.

 

Loughty Dube

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