Zimbabwe's envoy to Australia defects, asks Canberra for asylum: media

SYDNEY (AFP) - Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia has defected and asked Canberra for asylum, saying she fears for her safety if she returns home when her term ends next week, reports said early Saturday.

"Once the elections of 31 July were stolen by the current government - which is illegitimate - I knew that this was the end of the line," said Jacqueline Zwambila, who is aligned to Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"End of the line for the people of Zimbabwe ... and for people like me, who were appointed by the ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai," Ms Zwambila said in a video posted on the Canberra Times website.

"I don't feel safe about returning to Zimbabwe at all," said Ms Zwambila, whose term as ambassador ends on Tuesday.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Tsvangirai shared power with President Robert Mugabe until elections at the end of July.

Mr Tsvangirai's party controlled the finance ministry after he formed a unity government with Mugabe in 2009 following violent disputed polls.

The power-sharing deal ended when the veteran president won the July 31 polls with 61 per cent against his rival's 34, in a vote some international observers questioned.