The Zimbabwean government was on Friday said to be in panic mode over the safety of its Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, stranded in Mali following a coup d'état by mutinous soldiers this week.
Mumbengegwi was attending an African Union meeting together with several other African dignitaries when the soldiers announced Thursday they had toppled the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to neighboring Senegal, Trudy Stevenson said Mumbengegwi and his counterparts were stranded in a Hotel in the capital of Bamako, and could not leave because of a curfew.
Their hotel, she said, was also surrounded by armed soldiers, adding that the airport and the country’s borders had been sealed as the military moved to consolidate its takeover, roundly condemned by the international community.
Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha could not be reached for comment. But sources said the inclusive government was deeply concerned about Mumbengegwi’s fate and his entourage.
National Healing Minister, Moses Mzila Ndlovu told VOA that he hoped the coup plotters will protect the besieged African dignitaries.
"I want to believe that those who have seized power will want to observe the protocols of the African Union and the United Nations and protect citizens of other countries, particularly those on AU business," Mzila said.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya opined that the Mali coup reinforced the narrative of security sector reform not only in Zimbabwe but the whole of African to keep the military away from politics.