“Dirty Dozen”- Mnangagwa says don’t believe everything you read


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Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa today told Members of Parliament that they should not believe everything they read because there could be hidden agendas.

Responding to questions from Buhera South Member of Parliament Joseph Chinotimba and Masvingo Urban MP Daniel Shumba, Mnangagwa said it was gross misconduct on the part of an MP to go to a foreign embassy to seek assistance.

“That is the role of government,” he said, but added: “I must underscore the point that in the press there was a headline “the dirty dozen”. Again I would like to warn this august House that it is not everything that gets published which is true.”

“You must research to find out whether what has been published is true or not. As a matter of fact, I am surprised that we still have seasoned politicians who take to heart everything that they see in the press. Those amongst us who are seasoned, polished and have an understanding about intrigues of international relations, read with understanding that some of these things have agendas attached. So, you do not just swallow everything that you read in the paper. You must therefore take these things with a pinch of salt.

“However, I would also like to say, in any embassy in this country, we have the ambassador and the other staff in there, but among the other staff you have the intelligence service in the embassy who should go about in the countryside or among you to recruit you for other purposes.

“This is why some 875 years ago, the Emperor Munhumutapa sent his diplomatic mission to Abyssinia and they had the following instructions. One of the delegates was called Musoro Wevatumwa. That was the Ambassador. The other one was called the Ear of the Saint ndo Nzevedzamambo, the other one was called the Eyes of the Emperor, Maziso amambo, the other one was called the Mouth of the Emperor and he was the spokesperson of the Emperor. So, you can see that even the Emperor at that time knew that when you go to a foreign country, you have someone who carries the message”

The Herald and the Sunday Mail reported last week that a dozen legislators had received grants from the United States embassy and were trading information on the succession battles in both the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change.

“All embassies have various missions which are trade relations, political relations and security relations. So keep this in mind that these things are there. We stay, sit, eat and play with them, but they have missions to accomplish,” Mnangagwa, once Zimbabwe’s intelligence boss, said.

Q & A:

*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question was directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs but in his absence, I will direct it to the leader of the House but I know that whenever he is responding to my question, he will use the English language.

I want to know Government policy when it comes to diplomats or ambassadors; do they have the mandate when they want to donate something, when they want to engage any Zimbabwean whether in rural areas or in urban; just to go there and engage anyone without going through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Even our own Members of Parliament, can they just approach these embassies without the permission of the Foreign Affairs Minister? Thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I have heard the question asked by Hon. Chinotimba. Firstly, those who represent their countries in Zimbabwe represent their countries not leaders in the rural areas or in Mbare. They should come representing their country. That is the channel they use for their donations to reach our country. Some other things are also channeled through our ambassadors there. So, some of the ambassadors who are there are now tampering with the existing channels.

There is a law that they should not travel beyond 40kms from the capital city without permission because they are accredited to the city of governance. However, most of them are mischievous and they break the law by not even asking for permission. When they seek permission to go beyond the 40kms, they are asked what business they are going to do so that if they are involved in an accident, at least we will be aware that there are people out there. We are then supposed to alert our police officers to protect them but they do not do that. Even our ambassadors out there also comply with similar regulations of the country they are attached to. They do not travel willy-nilly to visit farms or industries and engaging people in those areas. They are supposed to approach the foreign office so that they are granted permission to go wherever they want to go.

To Hon. Chinotimba, have you ever heard that members of the House of Commons or House of Lords visited our ambassador in Britain or in America, that people from Texas or Florida visited our Embassy or that they were seeking for assistance from our embassy in Zimbabwe? We have not heard of such a thing. So, the same applies here. Remember that, whatever you hear may not be the truth. You should first of all, investigate whatever you read in the newspaper because things are just written so that we fight, whereas those things may not have taken place, but the law is what I have alluded to. I thank you.

MR. SHUMBA: Given this very clear explanation on the various diplomatic etiquette that is expected, and the reciprocal actions between the various countries, last week hon. members were paraded in the media as having compromised similar protocol by sourcing aid for their constituencies. That having been clarified as maybe untrue, I am sure there are violations of Parliamentary procedures of some sort, in that members are compromised by those allegations and fail to function. Can we get clarity as to how members could get some flexibility in engaging with foreign countries for the purposes of sourcing constituency aid, in light of the fact that we do seek to be re-elected next time.

MR. MNANGAGWA: Madam Speaker, I am saddened that some hon. members here think that when we accept diplomatic relations with foreign countries or governments, the intention is to bring them here so that we beg from them. Rather, the intention is to have diplomatic relations between the two governments so that the incoming mission would convey the wishes of the country they represent, as our own ambassador will convey our foreign policy to the receiving country.

I have no doubt that hon. members here, representing their respective constituencies are actually honourable. If the electorate which elected them into this august House hears that their representative finds time to go to unfriendly countries to seek money to drill a borehole, when in fact we have all these activities in various ministries of the Republic of Zimbabwe. You have a right as hon. members to speak or go and discuss with the appropriate authorities in this country dealing with that aspect of activity, in order to be assisted where resources are available. It is gross misconduct on the part of an hon. member to go to a foreign embassy to seek assistance. That is the role of Government. That is why recently, we had the Head of State going to the East to seek resources, loans and investments.

I must underscore the point that in the press there was a headline “the dirty dozen”. Again I would like to warn this august House that it is not everything that gets published which is true. You must research to find out whether what has been published is true or not. As a matter of fact, I am surprised that we still have seasoned politicians who take to heart everything that they see in the press. Those amongst us who are seasoned, polished and have an understanding about intrigues of international relations, read with understanding that some of these things have agendas attached. So, you do not just swallow everything that you read in the paper. You must therefore take these things with a pinch of salt.

However, I would also like to say, in any embassy in this country, we have the ambassador and the other staff in there, but among the other staff you have the intelligence service in the embassy who should go about in the countryside or among you to recruit you for other purposes. This is why some 875 years ago, the Emperor Munhumutapa sent his diplomatic mission to Abyssinia and they had the following instructions. One of the delegates was called Musoro Wevatumwa. That was the Ambassador. The other one was called the Ear of the Saint ndo Nzevedzamambo, the other one was called the Eyes of the Emperor, Maziso amambo, the other one was called the Mouth of the Emperor and he was the spokesperson of the Emperor. So, you can see that even the Emperor at that time knew that when you go to a foreign country, you have someone who carries the message – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members there are some members who are listening because they want to hear what is being said by the Hon. Minister. Proceed Minister.

MR. MNANGAGWA: I will elaborate; it is true that in any group of people, we cannot have the same level of understanding. This is accepted in society. However, currently today we still have these embassies. I do not exclude ours. All embassies have various missions which are trade relations, political relations and security relations. So keep this in mind that these things are there. We stay, sit, eat and play with them, but they have missions to accomplish. I thank you.

(146 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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