afrol News, 13 October - President Robert Mugabe is accused of a rush of illegal appointments to Zimbabwean embassies, governor posts and other prominent positions to party followers and family members. The MDC struggles to reverse the appointments.
Zimbabwean embassies are currently seeing a major change in staff, despite earlier government orders to scale down the country's foreign representation due to lack of funds.
Embassy personnel that had recently been called back to Harare by the unity government headed by MDC Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai suddenly saw their replacements after appointments made by President Mugabe and high officials from his ZANU-PF party.
Sandile Maera from the independent 'Zimbabwean' was told by Foreign Ministry sources that "children and relatives of top ZANU-PF and government officials" were given the new positions. Some of these new appointees did "not even qualified and do not meet the minimum requirements of the Public Service regulations, while others are too young," the source revealed, adding that even students were given a job at Zimbabwean embassies.
But President Mugabe has also replaced many of Zimbabwe's ambassadors to European countries without consulting with PM Tsvangirai in a move that may provoke diplomatic reactions. The new diplomats are known as ZANU-PF hardliners or family members of prominent party leaders.
One of the well connected people who had been given a diplomatic position was Pedro Del Campo, who is now called the Honorary Zimbabwe Tourism Ambassador to Spain. The Spanish-based Del Campo is married to Nyasha Mujuru, a daughter of Vice-President Joyce Mujuru (ZANU-PF).
Prime Minister Tsvangirai has strongly protested the appointments, saying they are in breach with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that lay the foundations of the unity government between ZANU-PF and MDC. He urged the European Union (EU), Italy, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland not to recognise the new ambassadors appointed against his will.
In the EU, the situation is creating a headache as the new diplomats are presenting their credentials signed by President Mugabe. EU "Foreign Minister" Catherine Ashton only was able to call the row "a serious matter," saying it was "important that the ambassadors be fully empowered to speak on behalf of the whole government."
It remained unclear whether the EU would be able to respond to Prime Minister Tsvangirai's call not to recognise the new ambassadors.
But the Prime Minister is being more successful when it comes to challenging appointments within the borders of Zimbabwe.
Last week, President Mugabe had "unconstitutionally" appointed ten provincial governors to the Zimbabwean Senate to the loud protests of the MDC. Mr Tsvangirai today proudly announced that the "illegal governors" had "shied away when Senate sat yesterday."
The Prime Minister said President Mugabe was provoking a "constitutional crisis" in Zimbabwe by his large number of unilateral appointments. The constitution stated "that all key appointments must be done in consultation between the Prime Minister and the President," Mr Tsvangirai said.
The PM's Office referred to a long list of "illegal" appointments by President Mugabe. These included the Governor of the Central Bank (November 2008); the Attorney-General (December 2008); the Police Service Commission (March 2010); five judges (May 2010); six ambassadors (July 2010); and ten governors (last week).
In response to the current crisis, a team of facilitators appointed by mediator and South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to jet into Harare tomorrow, the PM's Office reports.
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