Source: Govt reads riot act to envoys | The Herald September 9, 2016
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The honeymoon is over for Zimbabwe’s ambassadors accredited to various countries across the globe as Government has taken them to task to justify their stay in foreign countries by way of attracting Foreign Direct Investment in the country.
Addressing Zimbabwe’s diplomats accredited to the Americas and Asia in Harare yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the envoys were Zimbabwe’s international face and as such they should do everything to represent the country with highest honour.
Although he did not pronounce the fate of those who failed to deliver, Minister Mumbengegwi brought up the case of a former ambassador who was recalled for failing to meet the required expectations.
“We must justify our existence in foreign countries,” he said.
“Each mission must justify itself. Why are you there? Strive to look for economic opportunities. I want to repeat, strive to look for economic opportunities that yield bountiful economic dividends for our country.”
He continued: “Nothing comes and just falls on your table. Look for economic opportunities first and foremost. The question should be, why am I in this foreign mission?
“What has come out of my sojourn here? How has my sojourn in these foreign missions assisted my country? If the answer to these questions is zero, you should start to get worried that it’s time I find something that justifies my stay especially at a time when our country is facing many challenges. We all need to do our best.”
Minister Mumbengegwi then turned to some senior officials in his ministry with a tendency of sitting on diplomatic reports from various missions.
He said in cases where those officials chose to be courteous, they would only acknowledge receipt of the report.
Minister Mumbengegwi said such approach to business should end forthwith.
He said: “I know that some of you have complaints that you have occasionally come up with, ideas you thought were very bright ideas, present them to head office and you do not even get a response.
“You leaders here, you have a responsibility and duty to respond constructively to all the reports you get from our ambassadors. Do not forget that I am a former ambassador of longstanding. You write good proposals and all you get is a one-line response — ‘we hereby acknowledge receipt of your report’. No reaction and yet you would have proposed a brilliant way of doing business. All you get is an acknowledgement! That must stop.
“You must analyse each and every report and respond to each and every issue. Where you think the minister requires to make an input, you come to me.
“We really have to put our shoulders to the wheel both in relation to our foreign missions as well as our line ministries. We must complement each other in pursuing our national interest for the benefit of our nation.”
Minister Mumbengegwi briefed the diplomats on bilateral developments between Zimbabwe and some Asian giants like China, India and Indonesia.
With regards to China, Minister Mumbengegwi said economic relations between Harare and Beijing would come under the spotlight at the next joint permanent commission meeting set for next year.
He said India had invested in various sectors in Zimbabwe.
Turning to the issue of re-engagement with the West, Minister Mumbengegwi said: “The re-engagement is happening at two levels. First at the economic level and Minister Chinamasa is working hard on this economic re-engagement.
“Then there is the political engagement. The EU says they have removed sanctions on the country except on the First Family and on the country. But this is just words, we really haven’t seen any change at all. Other European countries continue to send delegations.
“With the United States, the sanctions remain in place. We are dialoguing with them. We are taking every opportunity that we meet their senior officials to remind them especially when you look at what President (Barack) Obama have done so far. How he has made peace with Iran, North Korea, Cuba and virtually everyone with whom they have some kind of conflict they seem to have reached some kind of accommodation. So, we ask ourselves, what is that Zimbabwe has done more than all these other countries?
“Zimbabwe aspires to have good and mutually beneficial relations with all in the international community. Government will therefore continue to work to improve relations for the benefit of the country.”