Is it just me? Or is there a pattern of profligacy sipping through Zimbabwe’s First Family? Spend today to beg tomorrow
CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!||Earlier this year, on one Friday afternoon, just before flying to some Eastern European countries later that evening; President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa hiked the price of the already scarce commodity – FUEL by 150 per cent. Why the trip? Why now at a time of crisis? And why chartering a dollar guzzling private jet for that matter? Whatever happened to Air Zimbabwe anyways? Zimbabwean hospitality in the skies?
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa kicked off the new year January travelling to some five East European countries.
The president’s spokesperson George Charamba defended the trip saying
‘the whole idea is to put Zimbabwe firmly on the map.’
Charamba said at the time Mnangagwa would travel to Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in space of a week and would also attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later that month.
Lest next time we hear Zimbabwean President in Damascus, or Kabul.
“The whole idea is to put Zimbabwe firmly on the map so we leave behind us the dark days when we were perceived as a pariah state. In all our interactions, we are putting in the forefront the need to attract and secure investments as well as co-operation in order to grow and transform our economy …”
If ever ‘sanctions’ are to be lifted ‘First things first’ Mr President
- Sort out the rampant human rights abuses perpetrated against innocent Zimbabweans, especially terror against political activists; disappearances like that of Itai Dzamara, my former journalism student who vanished into thin air in March 2016.
- Matabeleland Massacres, The Gukurahundi: atrocious massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. You were one of the conductors on this terror train. Consideration of commission of inquiry, reparations – may be not in the same fashion as ‘The Sandura Commission’ aka Willowgate Scandal that saw some of your colleagues committing suicide.
- Rejoin the commonwealth without delay.
And then sanctions would disappear in a flash!
While in Russia Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa asked for guidance from his Russian counterpart to help surmount his country’s mounting economic challenges.
Your Excellency, when we last met in Johannesburg at the BRICS summit, we did not have much opportunity to exchange views on our respective relations, but I believe this is an opportunity that is given to me to articulate the challenges that my country is facing. Zimbabwe has been suffering from sanctions imposed by the West for nearly two decades, and we are now doing our best to reengage after the new disposition has come into effect; and during our days of isolation, you stood by us.
Your Excellency, I have come with many issues I would want to discuss with Your Excellency, in particular, in the area of economic cooperation, because the area of political relations is solid and is very historical … Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Referring to Putin as a senior brother, Mnangagwa said he particularly looked up to the Russian leader for economic direction.
“Your Excellency, I would wish that we now attend to deepening economic cooperation between our countries, and our country is developing – it is a third-world country – so that you, as a senior brother, can hold my hand as I try to develop Zimbabwe,” he said.
And then enters the wife; Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Aah! In the beginning, Mrs Mnangagwa charmed all and sundry with her ‘compassion’ – visiting patients in hospitals in Matabeleland; Masvingo, Binga, Manicaland and Mashonaland. We all thought gone is ‘Graceland Gucci‘ and ahoy ‘mother of the nation‘, but lo and behold.
What has she done again now?
She flew from Dubai on a private jet.
She did this fast on the heels of Cyclone Idai that trashed property and claimed 344 lives.
First lady Auxillia Mnangagwa was flown back home to Zimbabwe by a chartered private jet.
Mrs Mnangagwa attended a meeting of the Merck Foundation in Dubai that tackled the stigmatisation of women with infertility problems, together with 10 other first ladies.
She told reporters travelling with her that the charity had pledged to open fertility clinics in Zimbabwe, and train doctors on women’s reproductive health.
The first lady landed at the Robert Mugabe International Airport aboard a luxuriously-fitted Airbus A318-112(CJ) Elite, previously used by her husband President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Airbus, with registration A6-CAS, is owned by Constellation Aviation of Dubai. It flew back to its base on Tuesday.
President Mnangagwa last flew the same plane after it was hired from Dubai to take him from Harare to Bulawayo and back, drawing sharp criticism from Zimbabweans who questioned the Zanu PF leader’s costly affinity for private jets.
Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba, justifying the 76-year-old’s 30 foreign trips in 15 months since taking power in a military coup in 2017, said “diplomacy does not come cheap”.
Said Charamba: “You ask me who is footing the bill for the president? Well, who is flying in this case? The president, right? So who do you want to foot the bill? It’s government because he’s not travelling for his personal business. This is what international engagements come with.
“We would want to be part of the global village and we have to carry the cost. I often hear people say this and that, but if we want that global presence, the state has to meet the cost that this comes along with.”