The Embassy of Zimbabwe in Berlin
Address: Kommandantenstrasse 80, 10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 2062263
Fax: +49 30 20455062
Ruth Masodzi Chikwira
Amb. Ruth Masodzi Chikwira has a Bachelor Degree in Administration from the University of Zimbabwe and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Free University of Brussels, where she was posted from 1992 to 1997.
From 2004 to 2010 Amb. Chikwiraa worked at the embassy in Brasilia. In addition to English, she speaks Portuguese and French.
She is also accredited as the Ambassador to Poland and Switzerland.
The Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe immediately after the country gained independence in 1980.
Since then Zimbabwe has been ruled by Robert Mugabe. During the first 15 years of Mugabe’s rule, Germany became a highly regarded economic partner of Zimbabwe and a supporter of the country’s reconstruction. This changed with the illegal farm occupations in the late 1990s, the human rights violations, the politically motivated violence during the 2002 presidential election and the increasing disregard for law and order.
In 2002 the European Union imposed targeted restrictive measures against those bearing the main responsibility in government and the ruling party (the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front). These measures included the refusal to grant visas and the freezing of foreign accounts, as well as an arms embargo. Economic sanctions were not, however, imposed on the country as a whole. These EU sanctions have been repeatedly extended since 2004, and in some cases actually tightened (for example in July 2008, following the manipulated elections and the ensuing wave of terror) and have been gradually eased again since spring 2012. In February 2014 all measures were suspended, except for the arms embargo, the travel ban against President Mugabe and his wife Grace and the sanctions on the company Zimbabwe Defence Industries. However, both ZANU-PF and Mugabe himself continue to blame the sanctions for the country’s economic decline over the past 20 years. This criticism is also levelled against Germany. The clear words that Federal Chancellor Merkel addressed to President Mugabe during the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon in December 2007 led to a further cooling off in bilateral relations. Germany is also reproached for not recognising the heavily manipulated parliamentary and presidential elections of 31st July 2013.
Conversely the Zimbabwean opposition sees Germany as a preferred partner in its plans for the political and economic reconstruction of the country. The formation of a coalition government under Prime Minister Tsvangirai in February 2009 led to an intensification of contacts. Since the elections in July 2013 and the formation of a ZANU government with a two-third majority in Parliament, some of the ministers who are ZANU-PF members have expressed interest in resuming talks and improving bilateral relations. So far, however, they have been unable to prevail in the deeply divided ZANU and in particular against the now 90-year-old Robert Mugabe.
While high-level contacts have so far been confined to visits to Germany by important representatives of Zimbabwe’s reform forces, such as the visit of Prime Minister Tsvangirai in 2009 and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel, who travelled to Harare in early December 2012. This was the first visit there by a high-ranking member of government following a long interruption of diplomatic relations. Earlier there had been political contacts at the level of parliamentary delegations, with the German side expressing its desire to fully normalise and resume the relations that had existed in the 1980s and ’90s, provided that Zimbabwe’s re-democratisation process is successfully completed.