Current ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo is winding up his business in South Africa to return to Zimbabwe to work full-time as Zanu PF chairman following his election to the party presidium at its congress last December. Moyo has been the country’s ambassador for the past 10 years.
Moyo told Zanu PF supporters at his victory celebrations in Sanzukwi, Matabeleland South, last week that he would be coming back home to assume the party chairmanship full-time.
Zanu PF and MDC formations have since declared their interests in the diplomatic post. Zanu PF wants to retain the critical post, while the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC sees the position as an opportunity to land an influential diplomatic mission in the region. The MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is also eyeing the mission.
According to an agreement reached by the two MDC formations and Zanu PF last year, the allocation of diplomatic posts is to be decided as and when vacancies arise.
Last year the two MDCs shared five diplomatic posts that were left vacant when terms of ambassadors appointed by President Robert Mugabe expired.
MDC-M was allocated an ambassadorial post in Senegal, while the MDC-T got Germany, Australia, Sudan and Nigeria. Zanu PF at its congress in December however resolved that it will not make any concessions to the MDC formations unless and until sanctions imposed on Mugabe and senior Zanu PF officials by the West are removed.
Edwin Mushoriwa, MDC-M spokesperson, this week said the vacant post in Pretoria should be filled by his party as it currently has only one ambassadorial post.
“We also believe that if we look at issues in the tripartite nature of government we also deserve to get the post that will be left vacant by Moyo. We only have one ambassador’s post and it is proper that posting be allocated to us,” Mushoriwa said. “The diplomatic postings should also reflect the coalition government.”
But MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said there was no need to discuss who should get the Pretoria posting as it was clear that it belonged to his party.
“We do not expect a quarrel from our colleagues,” Chamisa said. “When President Mugabe and Prime Tsvangirai meet to decide who gets posted to Pretoria it should be obvious. We do not expect Zanu PF to have the grab-all mentality and we hope the selection and deployment of the new ambassador will be done with due recognition of the political dispensation in the country.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the issue of who will be deployed to Pretoria has not been discussed at the politburo and that Mugabe has the discretion to decide who gets appointed.
“President Mugabe will make a decision on that since the matter has not been raised at the politburo level and it is his duty to do that,” Gumbo said.
He however said he was aware that the MDC-T was interested in the post.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have to agree on the choice of ambassadors to be appointed in line with the global political agreement.
The parties are also set to fight it out for another diplomatic posting after the death last October of the country’s representative to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the European Union, Hurudza Punungwe.