THE continued interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs by the United States in breach of international law, in particular the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR), should stop immediately.
Zimbabwe is an independent and democratic country having attained its Independence in 1980 and does not need to be “hand held” by the US in charting its destiny, let alone the subversive politics it is pushing through the opposition and its surrogates.
The US embassy in Harare in cahoots with the MDC-Alliance has been burning midnight oil in the plot to effect illegal regime change through violent demonstrations on July 31 disguised as an anti-corruption march.
The illegal demonstrations conveniently timed to violate lockdown regulations by the Government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are meant to give the opposition a victim tag when the arms of the law rightfully respond to quash them.
This, the US embassy fronted by Mr Brian Nichols, does with the blatant disregard for the VCDR which lays down the rules of engagement between a sending and a receiving State.
Article 41 of the VCDR states clearly that diplomats must not only interfere with the internal affairs of receiving states but also outlaws the turning of embassies into citadels of evil regime change plots.
“Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.
“All official business with the receiving State entrusted to the mission by the sending State shall be conducted with or through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving State or such other ministry as may be agreed,” reads the Article.
“The premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatible with the functions of the mission as laid down in the present Convention or by other rules of general international law or by any special agreements in force between the sending and the receiving State.”
It is against this background that the ruling Zanu-PF on Monday called out Mr Nichols for operating outside the provisions of the VCDR and disrespecting Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.
Addressing a press conference at the party national headquarters, Zanu-PF acting spokesperson Cde Patrick Chinamasa was unambiguous that failure by Mr Nichols to respect the country’s sovereignty, the leadership could expel him from the country.
The expulsion is also provided for in the VCDR in Article 9 which reads:
“The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable.
“In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State.
“If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this article, the receiving State may refuse to recognise the person concerned as a member of the mission.”
The most unfortunate thing about the conduct of the United States is that while the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has extended an olive branch to nations through its re-engagement drive, Mr Nichols wants to drag the country into chaos to justify the illegal sanctions his country has used for the past 20 years to hurt the economy.
The irony is not lost to the US Embassy which is encouraging civil disobedience and destruction of property while their President Mr Donald Trump is threatening demonstrators in the United States with up to 10 years in prison.
The US has experienced widespread demonstrations for almost two months against systematic racism in the country torched by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
“Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalise or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States, will be prosecuted under our recently re-enacted Statues & Monuments Act. MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON. Don’t do it!” posted Mr Trump on microblogging site Twitter yesterday.
Mr Trump, responding to the demonstrations, has deployed the military and federal agents among other measures with accusations that the federal agents are not only instigating violence but are also detaining protesters without due process.
The hypocrisy of the US Embassy with regard to the violent July 31 illegal demonstrations is thus threadbare. The opposition’s propensity of violence is well documented with incidents in January 2019 and august 2018 still fresh on the minds of Zimbabweans.
What is disguised as a march against corruption is actually a bidding by the US for the opposition to take over reins of power through unconstitutional means, the kind of bidding that should be resisted at all costs.