Parliament has accused Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi of hiding the rot at Zimbabwe’s embassies to President Robert Mugabe.
Source: Mumbengegwi hides embassy dilapidation from Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 16, 2017
by VENERANDA LANGA
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on foreign affairs, Kindness Paradza, said during Mugabe’s recent visit to Ethiopia, Mumbengegwi took him to the official opening of the Equatorial Guinea embassy in Addis Ababa, while avoiding the Zimbabwean chancery which is now in a state of dilapidation.
Paradza said this in the National Assembly on Tuesday while moving for the adoption of a motion on the committee’s visits to embassies. The report by the committee showed that the Zimbabwean embassy in Ethiopia had overgrown grass and loose electricity cables, posing a danger to staff members.
“When we were in Ethiopia, we were surprised to see Minister Mumbengegwi taking His Excellency, the President, to go and officially open the embassy which belongs to Equatorial Guinea,” Paradza said.
“It is a marvellous piece of architecture, but he did not take the President to go and view our embassy, which is so dilapidated that you cannot believe it is an embassy.”
In response to Paradza’s motion, Foreign Affairs deputy minister Edgar Mbwembwe said the findings by the committee were disturbing but pertinent.
“With regard to the chancery in Addis Ababa, treasury availed $20 000 for the repair of the leaking roof soon after the esteemed committee members had visited the station. With respect to our embassy in Gaborone (Botswana), the ministry last received $15 000 in 2012 for repairs and maintenance. Currently, we are waiting for funding for the renovation and repairs that need to be undertaken at the chancery,” Mbwembwe said.
The deputy minister said embassies had not been spared from the economic situation facing the country.
But, Paradza said since the committee’s return from Addis Ababa in 2015 and the availing of the $20 000, up to now, no maintenance work had been done at the embassy in Addis Ababa and elsewhere.
The committee recommended that $1 million be allocated at least every year by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa towards the building of one embassy.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said Parliament would introduce biometric registration for MPs to automate Parliament entrances so that their attendance records at Parliamentary debates and committees were properly recorded.
“MPs and staff of Parliament will be able to enter Parliament building without identity cards once registered by the system. Additionally, the system will also generate an electronic attendance register of both sittings of the Houses and committee meetings, thus reducing the prevalence of human error in recording the attendance of MPs,” Mudenda said.