France denies backing Harare protests

HARARE – French ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Delahousse denied yesterday State accusations that he backed street protests and a national work boycott which shut businesses and paralysed the public transport system in Harare last week.French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Laurent Delahousse 1

Delahousse told the Daily News that the accusations were “ridiculous and silly.”

France and America were accused by government of fuelling protests here, with Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and Information secretary George Charamba laying the charges.

Chombo told the lickspittle State media last weekend: “We have gathered from our intelligence that there was involvement of western embassies in all these disturbances that have been taking place.

“The evidence that we have gathered so far shows that the French embassy in Harare and other embassies are part of this plot as part of their regime change machinations.”

The newspaper reported that US ambassador Harry Thomas had in May met one of Delahousse was “believed to have met (Evan) Mawarire several times”.


While Thomas did not want to respond to the accusations, Delahousse said the accusations were fibs.

“This is absolutely ridiculous.  I have never met or spoken with pastor Mawarire. I am in Zimbabwe to help Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. I am here to bring French companies to invest in Zimbabwe and I have been doing that,” Delahousse told the Daily News yesterday.

“I am the one who inspired Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s visit to Paris. How can I be fuelling riots? I deny the allegations in the strongest terms. Some people are losing control, they had better work on the situation which is causing Zimbabweans to protest and address police brutality.”

Dismissing the accusations as silly, Delahousse added that the sentiments by the government officials will not affect relations between Zimbabwe and France.

“I am here to help build relations with Zimbabwe and we are re-engaging. Those relations are built on friendship and trust. These silly accusations will not change anything. We will continue engaging to see the full normalisation of relations,” he said.

Delahousse travelled to Paris with Chinamasa, where the minister got a chance to meet with 20 French companies.

An official from the US embassy public affairs section said they had seen the allegations and declined to comment on the matter.

However, in his remarks to mark American independence, ambassador Thomas said the American activities in Zimbabwe are guided by a sense of freedom and fairness.

“I know that many of you in Zimbabwe — along with others around the world — are watching the US election campaign.

“Indeed, not a day goes by when we are not asked who will win.  We do not know but what we do know is that it will be free, fair, and violence-free and that winners will celebrate and losers will concede graciously — and plan for the next election, just as Zimbabweans are working towards free, fair and violence-free elections in 2018.

“It is this same sense of freedom and fairness that guides our engagement across a range of activities in Zimbabwe,” Thomas said last week.

The French and the American embassies have been vocal in speaking out against human rights violations in Zimbabwe, including  the abduction of missing human rights activist Itai Dzamara.-Dailynews