Several supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai allegedly accosted Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United States, Ammon Mutembwa, at an Independence Day event in Silver Spring, Maryland, last weekend.
The MDC-T activists wanted to hand them a petition with a raft of grievances.
The group led by chairman Den Moyo had attempted to present the petition at Zimbabwe Embassy in Washington DC, which among other issues, called on the government to up the search for missing Occupy Africa Unity Square leader Itayi Dzamara, but found the embassy door locked.
Part of their petition read in part: “President Robert Mugabe of Gukurahundi and Nikuv infamy and his entire cabinet must resign with immediate effect for gross human rights violations and call for elections including those in the Diaspora under international supervision.”
On Friday when the group tried to deliver their petition they were approached by an unidentified embassy official who reminded them that they were lucky to be doing what they were doing since they were in the U.S.
The official said, “You know that if you were back home you wouldn’t be doing this. Just go away and let’s meet tomorrow at the independence celebrations.”
This drew a harsh response from the group who warned that they were going to deliver the petition at the venue of the celebrations.
The following day on Independence Day, the group clad in white t-shirts inscribed “Mugabe Must Go”, tried again to deliver their document but found the embassy door closed.
Chinamasa, who was in the U.S for the annual International Monetary Fund conference was the guest of honor at the independence celebration attended by dozens of Zimbabweans and some citizens of Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa.
The MDC-T group tried to hand the petition to Chinamasa at the event. He had earlier indicated that he won’t speak to the press. Ambassador Mutembwa was not available for comment.
After the incident, Moyo said they were not happy with how Chinamasa and Mutembwa had ignored their petition.
“We have genuine fundamental grievances that we wanted the government to be made aware of but they simply chose to ignore us.”