Zimbabwe, Country, or Parody?
In the surreal world, on page WaPo A19 (meaning really hidden)
Zimbabwe’s foreign minister chastised U.S. Ambassador Christopher W. Dell on Wednesday but stopped short of expelling the envoy for giving two speeches last week in which he blamed the “corrupt rule” of President Robert Mugabe for the country’s troubles.
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, the foreign minister, Ã¢€¦….
I will not even attempt to pronounce the Foreign Ministers’ name. I guess I’m as stupid as the “President”
On Tuesday, Mugabe was even more blunt. “You can tell him that I can’t spell Dell, but I can spell hell,”
More on the US Ambassador
Dell, who became ambassador in August 2004 [ed., Professional Foreign Service, so not a political hack], drew the ire of Mugabe on Oct. 10 by straying into a restricted area of a botanical garden near the presidential residence. Dell was briefly detained and later publicly accused by government officials of intentionally provoking a diplomatic incident. U.S. officials said the intrusion was a mistake caused by a lack of clear signs setting off the restricted zone.
Now, I will admit having a US Ambassador wandering about a park alone in an excuse for a country is definitely odd, but I have lived in a very safe country were I would sometimes see the US Ambassador shopping alone (and sometimes with her husband) [ed., yes I’m making excuses. This does sound odd; I’m surprised he goes anywhere without a Marine guard. But a “Restricted” botanical garden near the presidential palace also sounds odd]. Previous reports said he was lucky not to be shot. Weird.
Tensions escalated dramatically last week after Dell gave two speeches in which he accused Mugabe’s government of causing Zimbabwe’s economic collapse, chronic shortages of food and fuel, hyperinflation and an unemployment rate estimated at 70 percent.
“The Zimbabwe government’s own gross mismanagement of the economy and its corrupt rule has brought on the crisis,” Dell said, according to a transcript of the Nov. 2 speech provided by the U.S. Embassy.
That isn’t exactly a secret. Note the transcript was readily provided, and the Commonwealth has condemned Mugabe’s racism. I find his actions against Asians and Caucasians repugnant.
Government-owned newspapers reported that more than 150 union activists, including top officials, were arrested Tuesday after protesting in Harare and the eastern city of Mutare, in violation of Zimbabwe’s laws restricting political activity.
This looks like a pathetic attempt to divert attention away from internal failures. But something just isn’t right.