Zimbabwe threatens envoys

Foreign minister accuses Western diplomats of supporting the opposition.

    Mugabe accuses Western governments of supporting opposition attempts to overthrow him [EPA]
    The Vienna Conventions govern diplomatic behaviour and the foreign minister told the ambassadors that they prohibited foreign embassies from involving themselves in the internal affairs of the host nation.

    Mbengegwi also accused the officials of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai, who was allegedly beaten by police after his arrest at a prayer meeting on March 11.

    'Terrorism and violence'

    "We had the police being attacked left, right and centre ... not a single condemnation of this kind of terrorism and violence from the opposition has come from any of the Western ambassadors," he said.

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    The foreign minister told Al Jazeera that opposition activists had provoked the violence, in which one man was killed and dozens injured, to get publicity for the organisation. 

    He said that eight ambassadors tried to visit opposition leaders in detention, accusing them of trying to take them food and water.

    Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, and his officials earlier this week accused Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain, the US, Australia and Sweden of sponsoring a new campaign by the MDC to overthrow the government through street protests.

    "We have given too much room to mischief-makers and shameless stooges of the West. Let them and their masters know that we shall brook none of their lawless behaviour," Mugabe was quoted as saying in the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper.

    Human rights abuses

    Western diplomats in Harare have denied they are involved in opposition politics, but say they are concerned about human rights abuses by Mugabe's government which the head of the African Union said last week were an embarrassment to the continent.

    Since the brutal crackdown on what police said was an illegal meeting, several opposition activists have been prevented from leaving the country.  

    Nelson Chamisa, an aide to Tsvangirai, was hospitalised with head injuries after being assaulted on Sunday at Harare International Airport as he was attempting to leave for a meeting of African Caribbean and European parliamentarians in Brussels.

    The assault of Chamisa followed the arrests on Saturday of three activists who were seeking medical treatment abroad for injuries suffered in the March 11 violence.

    Wayne Bvudzijena, a police spokesman, said they were prevented from leaving because a court case was pending against them on charges of incitement to violence.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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