Jinping airport glitch embarrasses Mugabe


CHINESE President Xi Jinping came face to face with Zimbabwe’s collapsing services, after his plane was delayed by about 15 minutes at Harare International Airport due to malfunctioning equipment.


A towable aircraft passenger staircase, operated by the National Handling Services (NHS), developed a technical fault and remained stuck to Xi’s Air China Boeing 747-400 plane, in an embarrassing episode for his host President Robert Mugabe.


To avoid further embarrassment, NHS staff operating the machine called for reinforcement from their workmates and physically pushed the stair off the plane as Mugabe watched helplessly.

First Lady Grace Mugabe, an entourage of Cabinet ministers, government officials, services chiefs and several Chinese officials watched in disbelief.

The incident, at midday, happened as Xi rounded up his maiden two-day State visit to Zimbabwe, where he oversaw the signing of numerous deals with both government and the private sector.’

Harare International Airport manager, Priscilla Mawire, who seemed disturbed by the incident, refused to comment, referring all questions to NHS.

“For now, we cannot comment. You can go to the NHS general manager,” she said.

Efforts to get a comment from NHS were fruitless, as the responsible authorities were reportedly away in Victoria Falls on business.

Sources at the airport said the stair has four stabilisers, which should enable it to move once passengers board a plane.

“Three stabilisers responded, but the fourth one developed a challenge. We had to call other NHS staff to push it so that the plane moved uninterrupted. That was embarrassing, but there was nothing we could do,” a senior official, who refused to be named, said.

“Our equipment is always audited by other foreign airplanes and the Chinese officials were here five days ago and they said it was OK. That is the procedure.
“We are also internationally certified through the IATA [International Air Transport Association] safety audit for ground operations,” the source, who added that it was rare to have such a problem, said.

Meanwhile, there seemed to be miscommunication between the guard of honour and Chinese officials, who tried to disperse the assembly and pave way for the take-off of the Air China plane.

Unlike on Tuesday, where Xi was given a hero’s welcome with thousands of bussed Zanu PF supporters thronging the streets to welcome him, there were no cheering ruling party supporters on the streets or even at the airport.

Before leaving for South Africa, where he will be joined again by Mugabe for the sixth Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, Xi hailed his country’s relationship with Zimbabwe.
He said China was committed to working with Zimbabwe as shown by the signing of “mega” deals between the two countries.

Mugabe echoed similar sentiments, saying the longstanding relationship between the two countries had always been yielding positive results.


  1. That was unfortunate but machines do mulfunction sometimes. So the Chinese President uses a Boeing 747-400 plane made in the USA while we use Chinese planes,M40. The Chinese economy has developed using Western capital.So much for looking east policy. Zimbabwe should look every where including the West.

  2. The TAPS was simply echoing the desire of ALMOST every Zimbabwean. That is to leave the country. Hanzi vaXi woye hamunga endawo neni here kuChina ikoko.

  3. anyway the chinise presedent was here to give us more mulfuctioning machines. we will have a new one soon which will work for a year after election time. just like the buses, you know.

  4. Ko chii chinoshamisa ipapa isusu tazvijairaka ndo Zimbabwe yachoka
    Zinwa Zesa Zifa zvese zvese kwese kwese chinoshanda hapana hapana

  5. Really? Boeing 747??? Even the president of the United States of America’s Airforce 1 is a Boeing 747. I thought I was going to read that it’s a Mx2 hahahahahahaha. Anywhere, there seems to be a hand of the Gamatox there because it is unusual for that machine to malfunction. Xi is a busy man so a dely by , even a minute , cannot be tolerated really

    • Ayas. The presidential jet is assembled and personalised in China for fear of American spying and security. The same applies for Russia, Iran and most developed countries that oppose America. For the sake of helping the uninformed it si also important to note the Chinese President gave 46 Billion Pounds chikwereti to UK. They wanted 75 but only 46 was sanctioned. So economically or financially China is noe the super power by a mile. America hes given up $3 Trillion equity in their own backyard to China. Saka dzidzayi vakomana. The West is yesterday news. FACT. THE REST IS MUCH ASAY ABOUT NOTHING….

  6. The Chinese leader must be grateful for this minor mishap coz next time he comes to Zim there’ll be no stairs completely, his plane will have to park next to a tree so that he can climb into it

  7. Machines malfunction all the time…this is not news, you are just digging for negative things. A delay of 15 minutes, even in the US flights are delayed even suspended mhani…..

  8. saka zvebasarei. Jinping haasi Mwari. haana kana basa uyo. But i foresee kuti pachadzingwa vanhu mabasa chete. Munotamba nemahure imi. Kambuya kangu kaya kane mahwani manje

  9. NHS equipment is old. No investment in new technology. On Sunday, a B737 to Bulawayo was cancelled as it had an unserviceable APU. In Bulawayo, NHS do not have a pneumatic start unit, so the B737 was grounded in Harare.
    I heard Dzasukwa calling the new settlement of airport road an eye sow. The truth is the whole country is an eye sow. Harare is nothing but a growth point. Went for nearly 30 hours without electricity. In other countries, this would be deemed a national crisis calling for all hands on deck. Zesa was producing a mere 860MW of power yesterday. But the CIO were busy harassing gay delegates to the ICASA conference. Dzasukwa, hus cabal and the Mattress are only interested in the next rallies where she will dish out goodies illegally sourced from Zimra and HCC.
    For one thing, the Chinese leader saw for himself a classic failed state. The mega deals we here of are just pies in the sky.

  10. The visiting dignitary must have shuddered with shame when he saw the potholed roads, traffic lights that do not work, no water and electricity.
    He must be wondering how Zanu pf comrades were so very rich yet the country has been a banana skin since 1980.
    He must know that any aid provided to the Mugabe criminal enterprise will end up in their pockets.

  11. Embarrassed? Mugabe has no sense of shame and therefore cannot be embarrassed by anything. If he did he would have retired long back instead trying to be president at 91.

    Maybe it was Jinping who was embarrassed, Mugabe no.

  12. I have seen when I was travelling from Dallas Texas that there is nothing embarrassing about these things for the Boeing itself went flat on battery and had to be towed to be started like push start only this was tow start. The Chinese president has nothing to lose in using an American plane because they also have to meet trade quatas by purchasing from the US, a requirement for trade. However they all look to China as all the western countries borrow from China which does not borrow from any of them. Most of the items sold by the US and it’s allies are made in China including the iPhone. When the UK struggles with the budget to reduce borrowing, it’s the borrowing from China.

  13. Yes of course the Chinese use the West’s technologies everywhere or copy cats of the same. I would get the money and the technology right from the owner and not indirectly.

      • Colonization is flexible. It takes the shape you want. Like Look East Policy is colonization because you get eastern money on their own terms. Wake up Zanoid!!!

  14. Phi call is correct except the 1980. In that year this barrel of crap was handed a well run organised country. From then on the rot set in and never stopped since.

  15. Ummmm vamwe venyu musanyepe muchidaro paAir Zim hapawanike MA40 for your own information tine MA60 and its not made in China……do yo research properly be4 yo open yo mouth……..Y do u always want to speak negative lies about yo motherland? Remember its u who makes yo country Great. Viva Unite in Zanu Pf viva economic freedom pasi nemasaskam

  16. Its rare and certainly strange. It has never happened before. Unfortunately this might not be an embarrassing issue only. It is certainly a security breach and risk factor. I don’t want to sound as an alarmist but the scenarios here could have been too ghastly to contemplate, especially when there are indications of miscommunication. I will place the issue in the realm of spirituality, was Xi accepted by the country’s ancestors or not?

  17. Its not Mugabe who gets embarrassed by glitches like this but all Zimbabweans as a nation. I cry for my country openly now but I cry with hope. We may toil through the night but joy will come in the morning. Quite an optimist I am.

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