The United States president Barack Obama is this year replacing the current ambassador to Harare, Charles Ray who now passes the button to a former professional theatre producer, David Bruce Wharton at the end of the year 2012.
Obama’s reappointment was communicated in a cable released on the 11th May 2012. Although US envoys are generally allocated a minimum 3 years in each term, their tenure can continue into the 6th year, but Ray who worked since December 2009, will be leaving by the end of 2012.
During his tenure, the outgoing envoy, Ray became the subject of high media speculation following several leaked confidential US cables which seemed to reveal among others controversial meetings with prominent people in Zimbabwe’s ZANU PF controlled government who included Vice President Joice ‘Teurai Ropa’ Mujuru, and Reserve Bank govenor Gideon Gono.
Ray also leaves the embassy as the only US envoy to have his email account hacked following which incident he threatened to send the offender to a very ‘dark place’.
He however also made history by becoming the first foreign envoy to personally launch onto and utilise the social networking website, Facebook where he constantly engaged the local youth, something no other ambassador in Harare did.
His term ends in December 2012 and it was not clear if and or where he will be reassigned.
The incoming ambassador David Bruce Wharton(pictured), is a former theatre producer who joined the Foreign Service in 1985 and has been posted abroad in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Guatemala, and served in Washington, DC from 1992 to 1995. He has received Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency.
Wharton was born in Basel, Switzerland, and enjoyed a cross-cultural childhood with time spent in both Europe and Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin and speaks Spanish and German. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Wharton worked in professional theater in the Washington, DC area. (ZIMBABWE, ZimEye)