US, Zim row escalates

HARARE - Bruce Wharton, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, has been summoned by government to explain why Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs minister, was denied diplomatic privileges at an American airport two weeks ago.

Mumbengegwi stayed behind after attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York as he had other government business to attend to.

He had travelled as part of President Robert Mugabe’s entourage.

Mumbengegwi reportedly endured “humiliation” at the John F Kennedy International Airport after he was forced to go through airport security like all other ordinary passengers.

Despite applying for the VIP service from the US Department of State, which was okayed, Mumbengegwi did not enjoy the venerated status.

Junior officers manning the airport entrance stated that they had no instructions to extend any diplomatic privileges and niceties to the minister.

He was, as a result, treated as a common traveller, according to Foreign Affairs.

Diplomatic courtesy and common practice allows ministers to be escorted straight to their aircraft without going through security procedures for ordinary passengers.

But this was not the case for Mumbengegwi as he had to be “thoroughly” searched by junior officers before he rushed to catch his flight back home.

Joey Bimha, secretary for Foreign Affairs, confirmed to the Daily News that Wharton had been summoned by government to explain what caused the “degrading experience.”

“We have called him for explanations,” Bimha said.

Karen Kelley, US embassy spokesperson, said: “I can’t confirm nor deny that because I am not briefed on daily engagements of the ambassador and the ministry. The Zimbabwe government should help you.

“On the incidence at the airport, I am yet to get a full understanding of what happened, that is all I can say at the moment.”

Earlier during the UN General Assembly, Mugabe had blasted the US and its ally Britain as “covetous and bigoted big powers whose hunger for domination and control of other nations and their resources knows no bounds.”

Mugabe also faced a bumpy landing in New York when US officials wrote to the 89-year-old leader and his delegation advising them to confine themselves within a 25 km radius of the UN headquarters.

Harare, Washington relations have been sour over the past decade after America imposed travel bans and financial restrictions on Mugabe and a number of his allies over allegations of electoral fraud and human rights violations.

In his inauguration speech on August 22, the veteran Zanu PF leader said Zimbabwe was “an open, friendly country.”

“We seek friendship across geographies, across cultures, and quite often against past wrongs,” Mugabe said.

“We seek partnerships with all nations of goodwill, but partnerships based on sovereign, equality and mutual respect.”

He added: “As of those odd Western countries who happen to hold a different, negative view of our electoral process and outcome, well, there is not much we can do about them. We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn.

“They are entitled to their views, for as long as they recognise the majority of our people endorsed the electoral outcome, indeed for as long as they recognise that no Zimbabwean law was offended against.

“And for us that is all that matters. After all, Zimbabwean elections are meant for Zimbabwe’s voting citizens.

At the UN, Mugabe accused the United States and Britain of trying to control his nation and its resources.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Mugabe told the West to remove their “illegal and filthy sanctions”.

The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Zimbabwean State firms and travel restrictions on Mugabe and dozens of his associates after a violent 2000 election.

Mugabe and his Zanu PF government have rejected the allegations saying Washington was pushing a regime change agenda.

Comments (23)

An eye for an eye this time President. All Americans coming inti Zimbabwe must be treated as they do to your group!

Zim - 8 October 2013

Hey 'Zim', an eye for an eye with an elephant. You are a fool

Haruna - 8 October 2013

@Zim I think the you think places Zimbabwe at the same level with the US which is very wrong. Do you really think an ant cant fight against an elephant? Do you think America cares if you treat them badly? What does America stand to benefit from Zimbabwe? In any case all the resources that we have end up in America even if you sell them to China. My friend, we are too small and too minute to try to fight with America. Think twice; together with Mugabe.

Exiled - 8 October 2013

Who will come anyway, tourists come and are treated the same way I am treated so the Americans who come to see elephants are very willing to be searched. Sorry minister with your beard they thoughht you could be al-queda operative. But ngavaende kundoita business ku Guanguazhou uko why worry about New York?

maita - 8 October 2013

All the other African delegates went through without a hassle. I bet you they all watched quietly while Mumbengegwi was being frisked while they enjoyed their diplomatic status in another line. Funny enough no one picked that story until Mumbengegwi returned and complained to local papers. interestingly no African country has adopted any of our African hero land grab or company grab policies our dear leader had practicing or preaching for the past decade. Even China, surging power house, know how important America economy is to them and the world. They are quite. I Can't wait for the mouse to search the elephant when the American delegation visits!

taps - 8 October 2013

I think we have been fighting for too long. We are always in a fighting mood. This country will return to normality when this so-called revolutionary spirit dies. Its killing this country and we will die fighting a wrong revolution. Americans have their policies, mhondi havadzide munyika mavo period.

maita - 8 October 2013

If an ordinary person goes through security check at an airport, That's normal. If a minister goes through the same process, lol, it's degrading. eish. George Orwell said it all. "SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS".

Zvichapera Chete - 8 October 2013

Whats so special about Mumbegegwi? He must be searched like the rest of us. Chero machende ngaabahwe.

Mutirowafanza - 8 October 2013

The reasons are many; (a) He looked like a drug smuggler - see his beard (b) He resembled a Chinyahwe or is it a Chinyau (c) Or simply he is a non-entity who could not be easily identified as a government dignitary (d) VIP status is not given to those who stile a vote except probably when they visit Israel - Nikuv HQs (e) VIP status not for a tribal cavesman like him.

Obidient Son - 8 October 2013

"An eye for an eye" a brilliant idea for some, but do not forget we have got no currency of our own. Imagine if the USA were to wake up tomorrow and say there is no bilateral agreement for the use of their currency. Therefore, by the end of October 2013, please stop forthwith from using it. Chance for the famous zimdollar or Chinese yen to be re-introduced and cause further suffering to the economy and our sovereign nation. Before opening our mouths, some of us should pre - meditate the effects of such line of thinking. No nation can survive on its own during this globalization era. It's time to exchange notes even with the 'devil' if need be.

tomasi tohwi - 8 October 2013

"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this person your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Lk 14.8-11 Shame had he just paid attention in church he wouldn't have been embarrassed LOOOOOL

Humility is Key - 8 October 2013

manga muchada kutendererepizve nhai wakuru wangu wee,mange moda kumbonhongawo one or two mumashops,haaa manje mairasa huyai mutengewo maSpar nemaTM mamuno abuser dollar tifanane.manjaira kudya zvinonaka isu vana vezimbabwe tichikanga nhamo muno ikozvino tafanana.

inyangaboy - 8 October 2013

They should all be thoroughly searched...bloody thieves. He had stayed behind to spend diamond money? Are there no shops & hotels in his own country to spend that ill gotten loot?

Lt General - 8 October 2013

Taura hako Lt General. Vajaira kuno where they strike fear in the hearts of the povo and think they can go around the world doing that to all and sundry. No some countries have rules that need to be observed irregardless of how you are you. Nonsense wakanzwa butter. They should have stripped you to your pants. Why did you not return when the rest of the gang of thieves were returning? Benzi kusanyara mbavha nemhondi hadzidiwe in these countries. Better kugara muno after all what were doing at the UN? Makauya neyi. Tibvirei apo go to hell like I said before wakanzwa butter

vongai - 8 October 2013

zvima comments zvevanhu ve mdc madhodhi evanhu, silly comments from silly pigs, pappets muchadya madhodhi evarungu silllllllly

nhirab1 - 8 October 2013

nhirab 1 iwe ndiwe dhodho re ZANU-PF SHIT LUCIFER who is morally bankrupt with no conscience. Supporting a gang of murderers, thieves, arsonists and rapists you will burn in hell and all those in your lineage up to tjhe 4th generation. NXA. Duzvi remunhu with no heart. Look at all the suffering around you and tell us who the architecture and author of that suffering. ZANU-PF SHIT LUCIFER under Mugabe Pharaoh and his Egyptians and you dare insult us on this forum because one of Mugabe's goons could not get first class treatment in the US? Iwe ndipuppet yakadyiswa rupwetete rwematuzvi neZANU-PF SHIT. Nonsense

vongai - 8 October 2013

Kutenderera tenderera New York iwe wakapfeka kunge chinyahwe. Kuenda nekudzoka norah

Watikiritai - 8 October 2013

exiled vakatotakwa. America had interests in Zim baba. why are they talking about Zim almost everyday? tit for tat is fair play

zhou - 8 October 2013

Cde Mumbengegwi, this is your golden opportunity to show that you do not like the USA, refuse to be paid in US$ but in Zim$ from the end of this month so that you show the nation that you are a man made of sterner stuff. You can even go a step further and refuse to use a Mercedes Benz manufactured by the Germans, also westerners. You can, however, use a car manufactured in China since Zimbabwe is now a colony of China. Please, Cde Mumbengegwi, do this for us.

Guy Gusu - 8 October 2013

"Cde Mumbengegwi" looks like a crimminal and acts like one. Since he always talks so tough, why did he not physically take on those Americans there at the airport and beat them all up? Now it shows that he is just a coward and a crybaby.

Tiger Shona - 8 October 2013

@maita. Atleast 2 (innocent) black people/ African Americans are killed in America everyday by the police. Saka usati, "mhondi havadzide" ita, "VATEMA HAVADIWI MU AMERICA".

TAKS - 9 October 2013

Kungotuka chete even when you are not provoked. You were suppose to be assaulted not only searching. NXA.

mariyang - 9 October 2013

@Taks- You could have fooled me I thought the President of the US was black and ditto his Attorney general?

gutter poet - 9 October 2013

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