HARARE – Activist cleric Phillip Mugadza has petitioned the United States Embassy in Harare seeking revocation of dozens of visas granted to President Robert Mugabe’s bloated delegation heading to the United Nations General Assembly this week.
The controversial cleric — who claims he has received a prophecy from God that Mugabe would die on October 17 — wants the number of visas cut from 70 to 20 .
This comes amid reports that an estimated $10 million will be splashed by the entourage, with each delegate set to pocket at least $15 000 in allowances during the 10-day excursion.
“Your Excellency Sir, it was with great shock that we heard your embassy has granted about 70 visas to President Mugabe’s entourage going to the UN meeting starting on September 19 this year,” Mugadza said in his letter.
“Zimbabwe, as you are very much aware, is going through a very difficult time because of the said man’s misrule and the nation. The granting of the visas is a slap in the face of the nation of Zimbabwe.”
He added: “We have orphans and widows who have nothing to put on the table and there are teens right now that have been pushed into prostitution because of the difficult situation they find themselves in.
“We thought you would stand with us as a suffering nation but we are realising that you are not on the side of the suffering. Having said this, we demand that you cut the number to 20 looters or else we are going to occupy your embassy soon.”
US embassy spokesperson David McGuire said he was privileged to comment on Mugadza’s petition because the visas had been issued procedurally.
“The embassy’s Consular Section received visa requests from the government of Zimbabwe for its delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.
“Those requests have been adjudicated accordingly.
“We do not comment on individual visa cases and refer you to Zimbabwe’s ministry of Foreign Affairs about concerns and specific details about the delegation,” McGuire said.
Efforts to obtain comment from Foreign affairs were futile.