Zimbabwe govt tackling outspone American ambassador head-on

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Brian Nichols
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is tackling American ambassador Brian Nichols head-on over his country’s robust statements during last week’s anti-sanctions march – in another move that could further strain the shaky relationship between Harare and Washington.

This comes after Washington delivered a strong message to Zimbabwe as the march was getting underway – slapping State Security minister Owen Ncube with sanctions over allegations of gross human rights violations.

Daily News sources confirmed that the Mnangagwa led government would tackle Nichols head-on as it was not amused by Washington’s statements last week which strongly rebuffed suggestions that sanctions were behind the country’s deepening economic rot.

In this regard, sources also said, Nichols would soon be summoned and rebuked by the Foreign Affairs Department through a note verbale – a formal diplomatic note.

However, government spokesperson Nick Mangwana opted to choose his words carefully, saying Zimbabwe would stick to the Vienna Convention in its engagements with other nations – which sets parameters for diplomatic etiquette – adding that it expected countries like the US to do the same.

“The government will engage with all diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe in a diplomatic way, in accordance with accepted conventions such as the Vienna Convention.

“The government will, therefore, not engage in online trolling of any country as this is not according to accepted diplomatic decorum.

“In return, the government expects conventional interactions with all diplomats and to be paid the same courtesy in return. Diplomatic missions are not troll farms and the government hopes that they will not behave as such and act appropriately,” Mangwana said.

Pressed further to comment on what form of action Harare was contemplating taking against Nichols and the US, Mangwana would only say Harare would use “appropriate channels” to communicate with Washington.

“The government of Zimbabwe does not engage in megaphone diplomacy. Therefore, it will engage with diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe in a respectful and diplomatic way through conventional diplomatic routes, none of which includes public spats,” he said.

On the other hand, a social media character going by the moniker Jamwanda – but believed to be Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba – said emphatically on Twitter that Nichols had “crossed the line”.

Jamwanda@Jamwanda2

Have been reading Ambassador Nichols’ interview with Trevor Ncube. He has crossed line of diplomacy and does far better than Nelson Chamisa in playing opposition politics in Zimbabwe, and against President ED. Time may have come to recalibrate status in sync with his preferences.

Source – Daily News