Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Incoming Kenyan ambassador Ms Lucy Jebet Chelimo has called for tolerance in South Africa following xenophobic attacks that have seen thousands of people from other African nationalities living in that country displaced, while several others have been injured or killed. Ms Chelimo said this soon after presenting her credentials to President Mugabe at State House yesterday together with four other ambassadors from the Republic of Cyprus, Australia, Finland and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
“It’s unfortunate, and I believe as an African we are people who are very accommodative and would like to call for accommodation of every other person in the neighbourhoods of South Africa,” she said.
At least one Zimbabwean and four other people have been killed in the xenophobic attacks and over 800 displaced in the South African port city of Durban.
Ambassador Chelimo commended the ties between the two countries and pledged to work towards strengthening them.
Speaking on the recent terrorist attacks at Garissa University by the Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia where 147 students were killed and over 70 others injured, she said her government was working flat out to ensure the security of its citizens.
The first ever Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Juan Carlos Barrios Hurtado pledged to work on strengthening ties between the two nations.
“Zimbabwean people are under sanctions, but don’t worry about that. You should continue to be happy people,” he said.
The new Australian ambassador Mrs Suzanne McCourt, after presenting her credentials to the President, said that she hoped to improve trade relations between the two countries. Australia is among the Western countries that imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in retaliation to the adoption of the land reform programme meant to correct historical imbalances. Ms McCourt also congratulated Zimbabwe on its 35th Independence anniversary tomorrow.
The new Cypriot ambassador Mr Petrost Nacouzis said Zimbabwe and Cyprus share cordial relations since the countries fought against British colonial rule.
Finland’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Timo Olkkonen said he had discussed with President Mugabe ways to improve the two countries’ relations.