OUTSPOKEN Foreign Affairs deputy minister, Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa has launched a fierce attack on his boss Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, whom he accused of exposing President Mugabe’s wife, Grace to unnecessary embarrassment when he sought her a Belgian travel visa he knew would be rejected.
In candid comments likely to deepen souring relations between the substantive foreign affairs minister and former Zimbabwean ambassador to China, Mutsvangwa said Mumbengegwi lacked tact in navigating the highly unpredictable diplomatic world.
“What the Minister and the PermSec did was ill advised,” he said, “It was pointless for the two to apply for the visa of the first lady knowing fully well that it would be turned down. Why did they apply for the visa when there were indications she will not get a visa,” Mutsvangwa said.
President Mugabe was weekend forced to cancel his trip to Brussels for Wednesday’s EU-AU summit when his wife was denied a visa.
The EU says Zimbabwe’s first family were still on a travel embargo but could only clear the way for the President to travel to Brussels as there was no role for the leaders’ spouses.
But while the debate was almost dying down among Zimbabweans, the fiery Mutsvangwa took the argument to national radio Monday, dragging his boss along, and right into the mess.
Mutsvangwa said he could not advise Mumbengegwi and foreign affairs secretary Joey Bimha against the visa application idea as they two had entrenched themselves as the only decision makers in the ministry.
“It’s a difficult ministry. There are only two people; Mumbengegwi and Bimha, I’m not part of the decision making, I’m new there. They run it the way they want, it’s a fiefdom at the foreign affairs ministry and no one knows what the two are doing. But the decisions they make have a bearing on the nation,” he said.
Mutsvangwa then went into his favourite subject – flaunting his liberation war credentials.
“Let me tell you that I’m coming from a revolutionary background with an impeccable record, having fought in the liberation struggle when the minister (Mumbengegwi) was at the margins of the war, sitting somewhere in Europe enjoying the hospitality of the imperialist and the PermSec (Bimha) was working in the then Muzorerwa Regime,” he said.
“So if you put that into perspective, that makes them my juniors. So as a revolutionary and as a comrade, I would not have put my first lady in a position where she is denied visa by foreign countries.” NewZimbabwe