Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe along with First Lady Grace. She made a powerful and defiant speech calling for the continuation of ZANU-PF rule in this southern African nation., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Zimbabwe Delegation to UN General Assembly Harassed by United States
Sunday, 29 September 2013 00:00
Tendai Mugabe recently in New York
The United States government continues to abuse its host status of the United Nations Headquarters to harass Zimbabwe’s delegation to UN General Assembly meetings in New York as it issued a “reminder” to President Mugabe and senior Government officials to remain within a prescribed radius during last week’s summit.
The reminder shocked Zimbabwe whose delegation has never violated provisions of the US Foreign Missions Act since the imposition of illegal sanctions in 2001.
Those restricted were President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, their children, Bona and Bellarmine, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Presidential spokesperson Cde George Charamba and Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Happyton Bonyongwe.
In his reminder notice issued on September 23, US Under Secretary for Management Patrick F Kennedy said: “Pursuant to the authority vested in me under the Foreign Missions Act, 22 USC, and Department of State delegation of authority number 38 of September 16, 1992, I hereby determine it to be reasonably necessary to USC 4304 (B) to restrict the domestic travel of the representatives of Zimbabwe named below, as well as the named family members to a radius of 25 miles from the Columbus Circle in New York when such persons travel to New York for the 68th session United Nations General Assembly.”
A senior Government official, who spoke to The Sunday Mail yesterday, said the reminder was meant to harass and frustrate the Zimbabwean delegation. Efforts to get a comment from US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bruce Wharton yesterday were fruitless.
“The President and his delegation had never violated any restrictions imposed on him and part of his delegation since 2001,” said the official.
“What is the purpose of reminding him something that he has known for the past 13 years?
“This is clear harassment of serious magnitude of the Zimbabwean delegation and abuse of the host status of the UN Headquarters by the US.”
The US government also frustrated several countries that wanted to attend the UNGA because of its host status.
In Sudan, the US embassy frustrated Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir’s efforts to attend the UNGA 68th session by denying him a visa. Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro’s aircraft was also denied passage over the Puerto Rico airspace by the US government.
President Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, once suffered similar embarrassment when part of his delegation was ordered to remain on the plane at JF Kennedy International Airport while he attended the summit.