Refugee from the workplace?

By Andrew Phillips, APP National Chairman:

The Australian media is conspicuous in it’s silence about the much lauded application for asylum in Australia by former Zimbabwean ambassador, Ms Zwambila.

Ms Zwambila’s post in Canberra finished on December 30, 2013, and the former ambassador was launched into the local limelight after she crept out of the shadows and began to criticise the Zimbabwean Marxist dictator, Robert Mugabe.

Certainly, one has to admire anyone willing to stand for decency and oppose totalitarian and brutal dictators – however, the manner in which Ms Zwambila made her stand must raise some questions.

Ms Zwambila has made the claim that her safety is under threat should she return to Harare due to her links with the opposition MDC (Movement for Democratic Change). No one can deny the Mugabe regime is corrupt and election results cannot be taken seriously, but one must question why Ms Zwambila has remained silent about Mugabe’s excesses, nepotism and human rights abuses until a week prior to her return to Zimbabwe.

Why have we not heard Ms Zwambila condemn Mugabe for his corruption and publicly sanctioned attacks upon the nation’s white farmers and Matabele minority?

Is it possible the truth lies beneath an observation made by the organisation with which she claims a close association, the MDC, in which the statement was made that “Zwambila’s decision to seek political asylum after the expiry of her term is personal.”

Indeed, Ms Zwambila has had to put up with a great deal of allegations and smear tactics within the Zimbabwean embassy during her term as Ambassador, including the allegation she stripped off in front of staff, but office gossip and backstabbing is hardly a basis on which to lodge an asylum application.

The current application has also drawn attention to the glaring double standards held in the West towards the issue of asylum seekers. Following the announcement by Ms Zwambila of her intent to apply to stay, refugee advocates jumped on the bandwagon demanding the government grant her asylum and even “notable eminent persons” such as former PM Malcolm Fraser used social media to demand that our government accept her application.

This was the same PM who wrote personally to Mugabe following his election success – “I am confident that under your leadership Zimbabwe will make great progress in achieving your goals of peace, prosperity and unity.”

Compare this to the treatment of applications from minorities in southern Africa. The refusal of Canada and the US to grant asylum to South African farmers who face land theft, rape, torture and murder. Time and again, perpetrators have stated openly that the reason for targeting their victim was racial.

Even the UN Convention on Refugees states a person should be classified a refugee if “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country or return there because there is a fear of persecution…”

Indeed, there is the fine line between a persecuted minority, genocide and a refugee. However, the definition above must surely be applicable to those facing brutality and the threat of genocide from leaders singing songs espousing murder on the basis of race?

Especially when compared to false allegations of stripping in the office and workplace bullying…..

Ambassador to Australia Jacqueline Zwambila rejects Zimbabwe’s assurances after asylum bid”, ABC News, 30 December 2013
Zimbabwe’s ambassador in Australia seeks asylum fearing safety”, Africa – News and Analysis, 28 December 2013
Zimbabwe ambassador asylum request to be considered ‘on merit’”, SBS, 28 December 2013
Australia Assesses Zimbabwe Ambassador’s Asylum Documents”, Voice of America: Zimbabwe, 28 December 2013


  1. Just another third-worlder,who,once safely in a Western country,won’t go home.
    At present,any Chinese,Sri Lankan or Zimbabwean can arrive here,say something nasty about their government,and hey presto-they can claim asylum as they’d suddenly face torture or death if they return!
    And did this women ever speak up for the plight of white farmers while still part of Mugabees goon squad?
    On another topic,serial windbag Sarah Hanson Young described as a ‘disaster’the fact that the Australian navy breached Indonesian waters whilst turning boats back to their shores.The first time I’ve seen this woman show concern for a country having its borders breached. Gosh I can’t stand this woman,and her sheer hypocrisy.
    When are we going to have people in Canberra who speak for Australians?

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