By Staff Reporter
THE foreign affairs ministry has embarked on a programme aimed at upgrading its embassies and residences across the world to meet modern architectural designs and standards.
Following inquiries by NewZimbabwe.com why the New York chancery and residence were facing demolition to make way for construction of new structures, foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Livit Mugejo said the country was giving all its foreign missions a facelift to resonate with the National Development Strategy (NDS1), which prioritises a positive image and reputation.
“This is not just about our mission in New York only. We have also construction works going on at our embassy in Washington. We are also refurbishing our chanceries and residences in a number of countries which include; South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, the UK, Germany and Malawi,” said Mugejo.
“We are pleased that we have already finished refurbishing our chancery in Malawi. We are also refurbishing our guest houses in Harare.”
Mugejo explained on the impending demolition and building of the New York chancery and residence.
“Let me highlight that indeed the ministry intends to construct new and modern office facilities for its mission in New York. The new building will replace the current one which, although in a strategic area of New York, had become derelict, expensive to maintain and inadequate for the mission’s needs.
“To this end, the ministry has flighted a tender for the demolition of this old structure. This development is in line with the second republic’s clarion call to the ministry to improve the country’s image abroad under the NDS1.”
The development speaks to one of the ministry’s priority areas under NDS1 as we believe image is important, he noted.
“Many a times perspectives and conclusions about us are made by merely looking at the building that houses our diplomatic establishment. The ministry, under the second republic, therefore, made a deliberate and conscious decision to enhance the image of the country by constructing our chancery in New York. The new chancery building will go a long way in enhancing our image in the USA.”
Mugejo could not quantify the cost of the projects, which are still at the tendering stage.
Zimbabwean embassies abroad have frequently come under the spotlight for operating in derelict buildings and others threatened with eviction from leased premises due to non-payment of rentals.