President Robert Mugabe refused to met the out going US ambassador James McGee the man he once desrcibed as “house Negro”. McGee had wanted to pay a courtesy call as is the norm with outgoing ambassadors. Mugabe recently verbally abused Johnnie Carson, top US diplomat to Africa, after describing his predecessor, Jendayi Frazer as “that little girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute”.
Tim Gerhardson, a US Embassy Public Affairs Officer said “Over two weeks before Ambassador McGee departed Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy requested a courtesy call with President Mugabe through a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (…) Unfortunately, the US Embassy never received a reply from the Government of Zimbabwe regarding the US Ambassador’s request for a meeting with the President.”
McGee, a career diplomat, left Harare for Washington Sunday, ending a stormy two year long diplomatic relationship with the Zimbabwean government.
He was last year briefly detained at a police checkpoint outside Harare when he led a team of European diplomats to visit victims of State-sponsored political violence in Mashonaland East province.
Mugabe, who accused McGee of violating diplomatic protocol by embarking on an official visit without notifying his government, later told party supporters at a campaign rally last year he would “kick-out” McGee for allegedly meddling in the internal affairs of the country.
Even during the completion of his mission, McGee remained defiant.
US President Barrack Obama, meanwhile, recently announced an additional $73 million in additional assistance to Zimbabwe. He has also announced his intention to nominate Charles A. Ray, a career member of the Foreign Service since 1982, to succeed McGee.
Ray has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs since 2006. He served as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia from 2002 to 2005.
A US embassy official says Ray should not be expected in Harare any
earlier than October this year.
Meanwhile, last week during the African Union meeting in Libya, Mugabe
went on his usual insulting mode when he discribed Johnnie Carson, the most senior American government official dealing with Africa, as an “idiot”.
Mugabe met Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Libya at the weekend.
It was the first meeting at such a high level between the two countries for several years, as relations plunged to dire lows while Mugabe destroyed his own economy and condemned his people to penury.
Mugabe told Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald newspaper that Carson’s attitude was condescending. “You wouldn’t speak to an idiot of that nature,” he was quoted as saying.
“I was very angry with him, and he thinks he could dictate to us what
to do and what not to do in the inclusive government,” Continied Mugabe. “You have the likes of little fellows like Carson, you see, wanting to say: ‘You do this, you do that.’ Who is he?”
“I told him he was a shame, a great shame, being an African-American.”
Mugabe once described Carson’s predecessor Jendayi Frazer as “that little girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute” while the official media regularly denounced McGee, the former American ambassador in Harare, as a “house Negro”.