EVANGELICAL preacher, Prophet Uebert Angel, will be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Zimbabwe contrary to widespread reports that he has been appointed to serve as an envoy in one of the country’s foreign missions.
Last week, social media reports indicated that Prophet Angel, a philanthropist who heads the Spirit Embassy church, had been appointed to serve as a full-time ambassador in an unnamed country.
The reports started making the rounds following publication on social media platforms of a diplomat training programme that Prophet Angel was part of. The training programme is similar to what diplomats undergo before they are posted to their workstations.
Yesterday, a senior Government official said Prophet Angel was joining a long list of people who the President believes could do the country good in their capacities in line with standing policy.
Said the official: “The only deference now is that while previous appointees did not necessarily go through any sort of training, the President was of the opinion that there was a need to properly train the people so appointed so that the country can gain maximum benefit from their engagements.”
An official in Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Mr James Manzou’s office, showed The Sunday Mail the Ministry’s approval policy for ambassadors which had a list of people who have long since been serving the country as Goodwill Ambassadors who include sports people, businesspersons and other influential individuals.
According to the Government policy, the power to appoint ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, and diplomatic and consular representatives, is in terms of Section 110 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as read in conjunction with Section 204 vests with the President.
Section 204 reads, “The President may appoint persons to be Ambassadors or other principal representatives of Zimbabwe in other countries or to be accredited to international organisations and may, any time, remove those persons from their posts”.
The document availed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade explained the categories of diplomatic passport bearers and the role of ambassadors in Zimbabwe, based on international best practices.
According to the document, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade defines the Goodwill Ambassador as a post-nominal honorific title, a professional occupation or authoritative designation that is assigned to a person who advocates for a specific cause or global issue on the basis of their notability as a public figure.
“Goodwill Ambassadors generally deliver goodwill by promoting ideals or positions from one entity to another, or to a population to establish a benevolent relationship,” reads the document.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade says there are several advantages that can accrue through the appointment of different categories of Ambassadors.
“The persons appointed would have wide knowledge, expertise and experience either in specific fields or broad areas that contribute to the attainment of foreign policy goals of the country.
“Cooperation between the Government and Churches could make religious freedom and worship an important aspect of our foreign policy. Goodwill Ambassadors for the different geographical regions of the world could be appointed, representing various denominations that originate in Zimbabwe or have close links with the country.
“It is a fact that Zimbabwe is now an important source market for missionaries/evangelists who have penetrated other countries and established churches throughout the world. Before Covid-19, some of the churches brought thousands of people to Zimbabwe for annual religious pilgrimages, which brought in thousands of religious tourists from SADC countries and far afield, thus promoting solidarity and goodwill among peoples, while generating foreign currency,” reads the document.
Diplomatic and service passports are issued to different categories that include selected senior Government officials, Parliamentarians, Foreign Service officers and their families and eminent persons in the sports, arts and culture, among other sectors. The purpose of such honours is not to benefit individuals, but to facilitate travel as well as to enable diplomats to be accorded privileges and immunities in countries of accreditation.
For example, in the field of sport, Zimbabwe has since independence, recognised eminent sport persons that have promoted the country’s national interests on the global stage.
Zimpapers board chairperson Mr Tommy Sithole was the first recipient for his role as a renowned international sports administrator and journalist who was the International Olympic Committee representative to the United Nations in New York.
Sportspersons who have been accorded ambassadorial roles include tennis stars, Byron and Wayne Black, former Olympic champion swimmer and now Minister of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Kirsty Coventry, among others.