via Holland backs Zwambila asylum bid 30/12/2013 by Independent Foreign Service NewZimbabwe
JACQUELINE Zwambila, Harare’s outgoing ambassador to Australia who is seeking asylum to remain there, would have “no life” if she returned home, says prominent local politician and human rights activist Sekai Holland.
Holland, 71, a former anti-apartheid activist in Australia, who struggled against white rule in Rhodesia and against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party after independence, said Zwambila was “extremely vulnerable” because she had won a court case in Australia last week against a pro-Zanu PF journalist.
Speaking from Harare on Sunday, Holland said: “Even though Jackie Zwambila won her case in a court in Australia, the original untrue story remains a political slur in Zimbabwe which was meant to destroy her politically, and her social standing, her ability to get a job, to survive in this politically charged country… she would be hounded and humiliated and there is no way she could be protected by the MDC.
“Her victory in court in Australia will offend Zanu PF, but it was important. This case is going to have consequences for men who want to use sexual slurs against women in politics.”
Zwambila was appointed ambassador to Australia to represent the inclusive government after it came to power in 2009 at a time when she was close to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai.
She was accused in the pro-Zanu PF press in Harare of losing her temper and stripping naked in front of staff at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Canberra.
The claims were proved false in the Australian High Court last week when a Canberra judge struck out the defence of pro-Zanu PF freelance journalist Panganai Reason Wafawarova.
State-run Herald newspaper had published his false claims about the ambassador, and The Australian newspaper also ran Wafawarova’s claims days later.
Zwambila launched a lawsuit against The Australian’s publisher, News Ltd, and Wafawarova in 2011. Court papers say Wafawarova was motivated out of malice as an “agent of the Mugabe regime”.
Zwambila told Australian journalists last week that she feared for her safety if she returned to Harare since Zanu PF “stole” the elections in July. She branded the current Zanu PF government “illegitimate” in a video posted on the Canberra Times website, saying she had been subject to “smear campaigns and threats”.
“There is no way I feel safe being in Zimbabwe or going back to Zimbabwe,” she said.
Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, brushed off Zwambila’s fears, saying she had nothing to fear as the MDC had MPs in parliament.
“Why does she feel threatened? What is so special about her? If she is threatened by anyone, she should tell us as we are responsible for security here as central government.”