Zimbabwean Embassies Face Closure Over Rental Arrears

Fredrick Ngugi January 23, 2017
Zimbabweans calling on President Mugabe to step down. Daily Mail.

At least 45 Zimbabwean embassies around the world risk being closed, following the government’s sustained failure to pay rental arrears to foreign governments.

Zimbabwean ambassadors in these foreign missions have already been issued with eviction notices just as the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it doesn’t have the money to sustain the embassies, reports Zim Eye.

“This ministry is in a quandary because all missions, without exception, have received eviction notices because we have an outstanding rental arrears bill of $7 million from 2016, which effectively wipes out the allocated 2017 rental budget of $104,000,” Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joey Bimha told parliament last week.

The minister further revealed that while the embassies require at least $24.7 million to pay rent every year, the ministry was only given $3,040,000 this year, which is sufficient to pay rent for only three months.

Bimha added that his ministry also lacks funds to maintain buildings and vehicles and to replace office furniture at the embassies, insisting that most of the representational and utility vehicles being used by Zimbabwean ambassadors have exceeded their lifespan and are expensive to maintain.

Last year, Zimbabwean parliamentarians visited several embassies abroad and were shocked by the dire state of the building that hosts their country’s embassy in Ethiopia.

Economic Turmoil

Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been experiencing serious economic challenges, which are mostly attributed to the poor leadership of the 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe who has ruled the country for 36 years.

The veteran politician is accused of making several unnecessary decisions that have resulted in hyperinflation, which has led to the near total collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy.

Currently, the South African nation is facing a massive financial and humanitarian crisis, with more than 7 million people on food relief and a third of the populace fleeing to neighboring countries, particularly South Africa.

This crisis continues to scare potential investors away, further plunging the country in to serious financial havoc. Zimbabwe’s stock market has fallen to unprecedented levels and commercial banks are closing down, putting millions of depositors at the risk of losing their money.

Mugabe’s government has since introduced bond notes to replace local currencies in an attempt to salvage the economy from further shock, but locals are opposed to the idea, arguing that the notes will render their local currency valueless.

President Mugabe, who has announced his intention to run for another term in office come 2018, is currently facing rebellion from a section of Zimbabweans who want him to step down.

He has, however, promised to crush anyone calling for his retirement.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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