Zimbabwean Ambassador Faces Eviction

Now Daily

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Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Ethiopia, which houses the African Union, Chimbindi faces eviction for failing to pay rent, it can be revealed.

Chimbindi and more than a dozen embassy staff have not been paying rent for months after the government failed to remit their allowances, according to a parliamentary report.

“Rental arrears stood at US$89 400 as at 31 December, 2015. This means that our diplomats are now in danger of being evicted from these rented premises. This will further damage the image of the country and possibly the morale and work ethics of our diplomats. In the process, this will threaten our national security,” the report by parliament’s portfolio committee on foreign affairs says. “Our Embassy continues to rent the official residence for the Ambassador at a cost of US$4 500 per month, totalling US$54 000 per year. In Addis Ababa alone, monthly rentals for the 10 houses occupied by diplomats is US$27 300 per month or US$327 600 per year.”

The committee said the two embassies requested a total budget of US$2.1 million to cover salaries, recurrent and capital expenditure but had only received US$402 000, which was 24% of the requested amount by the end of September 2015.

The committee visited Ethiopia, the AU hub and Botswana, the seat of the Southern African Development Community and found that diplomatic staff had not been paid for months.

“The missions’ salary arrears date back from April to August 2015 and as far back as February, 2015 for some officers. The salary arrears for our diplomats in Addis Ababa amount to US$258 195 while those in Gaborone are owed US$242 503,” the report said.

Committee member Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Zimbabwe should reduce the number of embassies from the current 49 around the world to a manageable level.

Chimbindi was often forced to use public transport after his official Mercedes Benz was diverted to visiting Zimbabwean delegations. In Botswana, ambassador Mandigora was found to be still using an old vehicle bought in 2000 when vice president Phelekezela Mphoko was still ambassador there, while embassy staff relied on an 18 year-old minibus, the report said.

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