Zim government dismisses ambassador's safety fears

Jacqueline Zwambila told Australian media that President Robert Mugabe's government stole the July vote and she did not feel safe returning to Zimbabwe. (Shepherd Tozvireva)

Jacqueline Zwambila told Australian media that President Robert Mugabe's government stole the July vote and she did not feel safe returning to Zimbabwe. (Shepherd Tozvireva)

Zimbabwe's government on Sunday dismissed safety concerns raised by Harare's ambassador to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila, who has asked Canberra for asylum citing fears for her safety at home, according to local media.

Zwambila, who is aligned to opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, made the request for asylum ahead of the end of her posting next week.

She told Australian media that a July vote had been "stolen" by President Robert Mugabe's government and that she did not feel safe returning to Zimbabwe.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but her remarks are surprising because all the leaders of the MDC are here," said Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi.

Some are members of Parliament, state news agency New Ziana quoted him as saying. So why does she feel threatened? What is so special about her? If she is threatened by anyone, she should tell us as we are responsible for security here as central government."

Zwambila is seeking a protection visa so she can stay in Australia with her family once her diplomatic status expires. It remains unclear whether or not Canberra will approve her request. – Sapa-AFP

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