WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe’s ambassador, Jacqueline Zwambila of the Morgan Tsvangirai Movement for Democratic Change formation, has asked the Australian government to grant her asylum claiming she fears for her life if she returns to Zimbabwe following the end of her tenure in Canberra.
Zwambila gave an interview to the Canberra Times saying she will not use her business class plane ticket bought by the foreign affairs ministry to return home next Tuesday.
Most ambassadors from both Zanu PF and the MDC have been recalled but Zwambila, picked by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to become Zimbabwe’s top diplomat in Australia, says she cannot go back to face 89-year old President Robert Mugabe under whom she has been serving since 2009.
Ms. Zwambila says Mr. Mugabe and Zanu-PF stole the July 31st national elections, adding after the polls that ''I knew then it was the end of my term.''
She says she fears indefinite custody if she returned to Zimbabwe. The ambassador adds that among other allegations she has been threatened with arrest in Zimbabwe because a court allegedly found she had not paid $2,700 to someone who worked on a house she owns there. She denied owing the money.
Studio 7 was unable to speak with a government official from Australia on the ambassador's request for protection. Zwambila was also unavailable but MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora says the party cannot guarantee her safety so she has the right to seek asylum down under.
But Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo dismisses Zwambila’s asylum application saying other former MDC-T ambassadors are already in the country just like former cabinet ministers but they roam the streets freely.