New Zimbabwe.com

Zim ambassadors hitchhiking, living in dilapidated homes

By Anna Chibamu

ZIMBABWEAN ambassadors posted to various countries in the world have been forced to hitchhike for transport while some endure living in homes with leaking roofs as the country struggles to maintain its embassies.

This was revealed Monday by Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo while giving oral evidence before parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee.

Moyo said government was in the process of re-capitalising its foreign missions to restore their dignity.

He also told the Kindness Paradza-led committee that non-performing ambassadors risked being recalled adding his ministry will soon be grading them according to performance.

“Embassies will soon be upgraded according to delivery. Those non-performing ambassadors will be recalled. Discussions are already there and we have agreed in principle.”

Moyo added, “Re-capitalisation of embassies was long overdue. We have replaced old vehicles and purchased new ones. Some ambassadors were now hitch-hiking and that was unacceptable.

“The process of purchasing is on-going. We have also provided newly appointed ambassadors with furniture.”

The minister said government was considering buying its own properties in host countries to escape the burden of paying huge amounts in terms of rentals.

“Due to the bad condition of some of the houses being rented as residence by our ambassadors, some of them have moved elsewhere as the houses are in a dilapidated state,” he said.

“The process of renting has been very expensive. The mortgage system becomes cheaper as rent becomes repayment so that we own our own chancelleries.

“Rented houses in New York and South Africa have reportedly been leaking. So we have undertaken a plan to engage the Real Estate.”

Minister also told this committee that the government would soon open new embassies in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.