Zimbabwe dismisses envoy's safety fears after asylum bid

Zimbabwe dismisses envoy's safety fears after asylum bid
This picture taken on May 9, 2013 shows Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia Jacqueline Zwambila smiling while attending an event in Canberra. Zwambila has asked Canberra for asylum, lashing out at her country's "illegitimate" government and voicing fears for her safety if she returns home at the end of her posting next week, reports said.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's government Sunday dismissed concerns raised by Harare's ambassador to Australia who has asked Canberra for asylum citing fears for her safety back home, local media reported.

Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila, aligned to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, made the request for asylum ahead of the end of her posting on Tuesday.

She told Australian media that a July vote had been "stolen" by President Robert Mugabe's government and that she did not feel safe returning to Zimbabwe.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion but her remarks are surprising because all the leaders of the MDC-T are here," said Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, referring to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party.

Some were members of parliament, he was quoted as saying by the state news agency New Ziana.

"So, why does she feel threatened? What is so special about her? If she is threatened by anyone, she should tell us as we are responsible for security here as central government."

Zwambila was appointed in 2009 after Zimbabwe's power-sharing government was set up between Tsvangirai as prime minister and Mugabe as president.

The shaky deal ended after elections in July this year, slammed as fraudulent by Tsvangirai, with the MDC losing its ministerial posts.

Zwambila said she was seeking a protection visa so she can stay on in Australia with her family once her diplomatic status expires. It was not immediately clear whether Canberra would approve her request.

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