The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs presented a report to Parliament on Tuesday which revealed the sorry state of affairs at Zimbabwe’s foreign missions.
The economic tailspin has not only affected local people through shortages of basic goods and skyrocketing prices of goods and services. The country’s diplomats are now living in penury.
In the report presented to Parliament on Tuesday, ZANU PF Mberengwa South MP Alum Mpofu said
Zimbabwe’s embassies do not own properties at diplomatic missions and the Foreign Affairs ministry depends on renting properties for ambassadors.
The committee has heard of the despicable state of disrepair at the country’s chancelleries and embassies, and diplomats have had to leave their houses because of the state of disrepair and dilapidation.
Mpofu said the parliamentary committee recommended that the country’s embassies be reduced from 46 to 28.
This must be done after an analysis is made to identify those embassies that should be closed.
The committee offered recommendations to alleviate the suffering of the country’s diplomats:
To solve the continued accumulation of debt by embassies, Treasury should allocate money for the purchase and construction of properties for embassies, and priority should be given to those countries where rental costs are very high.
The ministry should vigorously pursue re-engagement and put special focus on that Zimbabwe should re-join the Commonwealth and ensure the country’s readmission by 2019.
Embassies and staff should get salaries on time in foreign currency, and the Industry ministry should finalise the diaspora policy. Embassies should be equipped to be able to process identity documents and other documents to our nationals.