HARARE – Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara ejected German ambassador to Zimbabwe Hans Gunter Gnodkte from his office last week, after he protested the seizure of Save Valley Conservancies protected under bilateral agreements.
Gnodkte confirmed to our correspondent that Mutambara had abruptly terminated their meeting.
“What I can say is I had a scheduled meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister last week on Friday,” Gnodkte said.
“I had asked to meet him in his capacity as the chairperson of the ministerial committee that is trying to find a solution to the problems in the Save Wildlife Sanctuary.
“You might be aware that a German, Wilfried Pabst is a major investor in the conservancy and is protected by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs). The meeting raised controversial issues and the DPM abruptly ended it.”
The German envoy refused to state what exactly had caused the diplomatic tiff.
Insiders told our correspondent that Mutambara had blown his top after the illegal expropriations were raised in the meeting.
“Mutambara threw the German ambassador out of his office in the presence of the European Union Ambassador,” our source said.
“Both were making representations on the issue of government or National Parks continuing to illegally hold back hunting permits for the Save Valley as well as the Bubye Conservancy. I understand the PM apologized but the DPM was out of control.”
The fight has also reportedly attracted the attention of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now trying to mediate.
Two weeks ago, Gnodtke warned that his country and other European countries may boycott the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August, in protest over the decimation of the Save Valley conservancies, properties protected under overseas government-to-government agreements.
Mutambara meanwhile would not be drawn into commenting about the stand-off, despite promises since last Saturday to return calls.
Mutambara kicks out German envoy Tsvangirai’s spindoctors were unreachable yesterday as they were away in Davos Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum.
Mutambara heads a ministerial committee that is supposed to find a solution to the emotive issue of the Save wildlife sanctuary — currently under siege from a group of Zanu PF politicians now known as the “Masvingo 37”.
The group is invading the private properties under a murky policy known as the wildlife-based land reform.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi fighting to preserve and even grow the country’s battered image ahead of the UNWTO tourism extravaganza – Daily News.