Diplomatic incident as foreign ambassadors’ held at roadblock

There was drama at a roadblock near Glendale in Mashonaland central on
Tuesday when police nearly caused a major diplomatic incident by holding
various foreign ambassadors at a roadblock, delaying their convoy by over an

The incident was witnessed by a number of journalists who were accompanying

foreign diplomats visiting the province on a fact-finding mission to check

on victims of post-election violence. The convoy included ambassadors from

the United States, the UK, Japan, the Netherlands, the European Union and a

representative of the Tanzanian high commissioner. They were returning to

Harare in a 13-vehicle convoy when they were stopped.

One of the journalists travelling with the diplomats said the police wanted

to know what the ambassadors’ mission was in the province. U.S. ambassador

James McGee is believed to have calmly told the officers that diplomats were

not obliged to deal directly with junior officers but with their commanding

officers or officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

‘It was at this stage that a vehicle with state agents arrived and one of

them started recording all the number plates of the diplomatic vehicles. A

second vehicle carrying soldiers in civilian attire got to the roadblock and

one of its occupants started shouting racist remarks at an American embassy

official,’ the journalist said.

Ambassador McGee protested the abusive language and walked towards the

vehicle, at which point the driver tried to speed off.  But the Ambassador

stepped in front of the car to block it from making a gateway. It’s believed

the driver swerved round the Ambassador, bumping him.

‘The Ambassador wasn’t injured but he has taken up the issue with the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As journalist’s we viewed the incident as

bullying tactics by the government,’ our source said.

Our source added that they saw very depressing scenes at the two hospitals.

At Howard Mission the male ward was full of victims of violence. Mashonaland

Central has recorded the highest incidents of post election violence since

the 29th March elections. At Mvurwi hospital, victims were receiving little

medical help as staff said they had run out of medicines.

The trip on Tuesday comes a day after Ambassador McGee said there was

undeniable evidence that Robert Mugabe’s party is driving a systematic

campaign of violence, intended to intimidate opposition supporters before a

runoff presidential election.

As a supporter of human rights, McGee felt compelled to speak out against

‘atrocities being committed across Zimbabwe,’ and has vowed to press for the

prosecution of perpetrators of the violence.

 sw radio africa

Post published in: News

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