THE Foreign Affairs ministry has forwarded a financial request to Parliament to recall 10 to 15 ambassadors by next month.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs Joey Bimha yesterday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi that the move was a normal procedure which was done after every four years when ambassadors completed their terms.
Although he did not indicate which embassies would be affected, Bimha said the recalling of ambassadors had nothing to do with the new government, but that some ambassadors had reached retirement age or were to be appointed for other key posts.
“We are moving about 10 to 15 ambassadors and it is necessary to move them because if they stay for too long they become native and we have to move them now so that they come back here and touch base,” Bimha said.
“Their recall has nothing to do with the new government, but this is a normal exercise that the ministry carries out often.”
Zimbabwe has 46 diplomatic missions which constitute 40 embassies and six consulates, as well as nine directorates in Africa, Asia, Pacific, Europe and the Americas.
Bimha said his ministry continued to suffer hostility from some Western countries such as Britain, United States of America, Canada and Australia.
“These countries have refused to recognise the Zanu PF victory in the July 31 harmonised elections, alleging that the elections were flawed and this has an effect of tarnishing the image of the country,” he said.
Bimha said there were deliberate distortions of the country’s policies by other countries, leading to investor flight, reduced tourism inflows and capital flight.
He said resource constraints affected the ministry’s operations where only 36% of its requested budget of about $63 204 000 million was allocated to his ministry in the 2013 budget.
“A large portion of our money is covering rentals at embassies. We have managed to pay salaries, but we have suffered in terms of operations and have had a situation where we did not have fuel and where if one visited our ministry we will be unable to give teas,” he said.
MPs from the committee demanded diplomatic passports, but Bimha said a list detailing who should get a diplomatic passport was prepared by Cabinet and not his ministry.