Zimbabwe has accused the United States Ambassador to the country, his French counterpart and their embassies of fueling the protests in the country last week.
The Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Ignatius Chombo, told Zimbabwe’s state-owned Sunday Mail that the country’s intelligence gathered that U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas and France Ambassador Laurent Delahousse “were working through dodgy groups and leveraging on social media to foment civil disobedience and ultimately destabilize Zimbabwe.”
“We have gathered from our intelligence that there is the involvement of Western embassies in all these disturbances that have been taking place … The evidence that we have gathered so far shows that the French Embassy in Harare and other Western embassies are part of this plot as part of their regime change machinations,” Chombo was quoted by the paper.
The newspaper also alleged that the two Ambassadors had met a popular Zimbabwean activist, Pastor Evan Mawarire, who has been very vocal against the government and actively supported last week’s protest in the country.
France Ambassador Laurent Delahousse denied the allegations when AFP contacted him and said he has never met Mawarire, describing the accusations as ridiculous.
“I’m not in Zimbabwe to create problems, but to help and support the people of Zimbabwe. The authorities should instead focus their efforts to work for the good of the people and should investigate police violence,” he added.
The violence started after Zimbabwean taxi drivers protested against a police crackdown in the past week and residents joined in and hurled rocks at police who fired teargas to disperse the rioters.
Last week, civil servants embarked on a three-day strike over the non-payment of June salaries. They joined teachers who were already out of the classrooms.
This was followed by a call on social media for a nationwide shutdown on Wednesday to protest the government’s “failed economic policies.” This call was supported by the head of opposition party Zimbabwe People First party and former vice-president Joyce Mujuru.
President Mugabe responded on Friday blaming the West for the government’s delay in paying salaries.
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