HARARE, April 17 — The xenophobic attacks in South Africa are unfortunate and a stain on the African culture of tolerance, SAYS THE new Kenyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lucy Jebet Chelimo.
South Africa is battling to contain a wave of xenophobic attacks which have claimed at least five lives so far.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, is widely blamed for instigating the attacks after he was reported saying foreigners in South Africa should “go back to their countries”.
Speaking to journalists after presenting her credentials to President Robert Mugabe at State House here Thursday, Chelimo said the behaviour being demonstrated by South Africans was not African.
“It’s unfortunate and I believe it’s also un-African. We are people who are very accommodative and I would like to extend a call for accommodation for any other person living in the neighborhood or within South Africa,” she said.
Meanwhile, four other ambassadors also presented their credentials to President Mugabe. New Australian Ambassador Suzanne Kathryn McCourt expressed enthusiasm to assist in mending relations between the two countries.
“I think today is a very fantastic day to celebrate the very positive connections between our two countries. We have a very long and positive history and I am interested in my time in Zimbabwe to further those relations. There are very strong people to people links between our two countries,” she said.
Cypriot ambassador to Zimbabwe Petrost Nacouzis told journalists that he had discussed with President Mugabe ways to cement bilateral relations. “Cyprus supported Zimbabwe, the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe for self-determination through the Non Aligned Movement and international fora and the presence of a vibrant Cypriot community (in Zimbabwe) is also bringing the two countries close to each other.”
Finland’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, said he and President Mugabe had an amicable and friendly discussion. “We discussed the bilateral relations between our countries. We discussed for example, Finland’s experience in forestry management. Finland is a very forested country and we have quite a lot of experience on that issue,” he added.
“I look forward to being there to help develop and construct the relations between our two countries further and also to diversify our relationship to have more contacts between different sectors of society.”
Although new Venezuelan ambassador to Zimbabwe Juan Carlos Hurtado was last to present his credentials, his appointment is significant as it signals the commencement of diplomatic relations between Harare and Caracas. Hurtado said he would work hard to strengthen relations between the two nations.
SOURCE: NEW ZIANA