Former US Ambassadors to Zimbabwe Demand Revocation of First Lady’s Ambassadorial Role and Award.

Letwin Mubonesi

Several former United States ambassadors to Zimbabwe and other countries have called on Harvard University to withdraw an honorary award that it recently awarded to Zimbabwe First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa. Amai Mnangagwa was last week awarded with the Harvard University Global Health Catalyst ambassadorship during the 7th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

The former US Ambassadors to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas, Bruce Wharton, Charles Ray, Christopher Dell and former US envoy to Botswana Michelle Gavin in a joint letter to Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow argued that Auxillia was not a deserving candidate.
The ex-diplomats said Auxillia does in a letter addressed to Harvard University authorities Wilfred Ngwa (Harvard Global Health Catalyst director) and George Daley (Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Harvard) calling off of the award.

They said Harvard University risked having its reputation tarnished by association with Auxillia whose husband President Emmerson Mnangagwa is alleged to be leading a regime involved in human rights violations and State-sponsored abductions.

“We collectively write to you with profound concern over your decision to honor the First Lady of Zimbabwe Auxillia Mnangagwa with an honorary ambassadorship as part of your otherwise noble institutional efforts to increase access to women’s health and to reduce healthcare disparities in the developing world.”

“To be blunt your well-intentioned work in these areas are tainted by the affiliation with Mrs Mnangagwa and her direct personal connection to an increasingly corrupt and abusive administration in which tolerance for dissent is non-existent and democratic rights are violently denied. According to credible human rights organizations both domestic and international more than 50 government critics and activists have been abducted in Zimbabwe over the past nine months,” reads part of the letter.

The diplomats in their letter cited the abduction of acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Peter Magombeyi on September 15, who was discovered five days later after being dumped, confirmed the regime’s violent streak.

“The most pertinent example is that of Dr Peter Magombeyi, who disappeared on September 15 and was discovered five days later, left on the roadside, disoriented and suffering from the effects of torture. According to local reports Magombeyi was in the custody of suspected State agents and there was the use of electroshock torture,” wrote the diplomats.

However, the diplomats said that repressive regimes like Zimbabwe will use international institutions like Harvard University to launder their oppressive practices and overall reputations.

Meanwhile, the government has dismissed this letter which mainly citing the questionable abduction of Dr Peter Magombeyi. Deputy minister of information Energy Mutodi said that the diplomats were jealous of First Lady who he said has done a lot in the Health sector before accusing them of exhibiting condescending attitudes against black women.

“We are saying that for these ambassadors to react so jealously in a very unreasonable manner against a woman is embarrassing. They are living in the past; and they wouldn’t expect good coming from a black woman. That is very unfortunate from them. She has done a lot of work that has been commendable,” said Mutodi.

Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana blasted the behaviour displayed by the former diplomats in Zimbabwe’s affairs.

“The statement by the former Ambassadors is quite unfortunate. Firstly, the First Lady of Zimbabwe supports worthy goodwill causes and is not a member of the Zimbabwean Government. To conflate her charitable role and Government functions is wrong.

Further, it appears they have already made their conclusions in Dr Magombeyi’s allegations of abduction, which for all intents and purpose sounds bogus. This lobby group of former Ambassadors has chosen to remain interfering as they did during their tenure,” he said.

Some political analysts said the letter exposed the United States’s true intentions on Zimbabwe. Mr Goodwine Mureriwa, who is a political analyst said, “If one studies the sequence of these so-called abductions, it’s clear that they are meant to derail the Government’s re-engagement efforts and further isolate the country.

It is therefore not surprising that these former US ambassadors, most of whom failed in their regime change efforts, are now using the Dr Magombeyi issue, which is still under investigation to continue with their regime change efforts.”

Weighing in, Mr Tinashe Tiki said that, “The reaction of the ambassadors and the other US officials shows that these ‘abductions’ have always been about demonizing the country.”

Nyari Mashayamombe

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