PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s penchant for travelling is once again on show, as he has travelled to the United Nations to attend a summit on oceans and marine life.
Comment: NewsDay Editor
It goes without saying that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and has very negligible marine life, let alone any interest in oceans.
Mugabe’s aides will be at pains to explain the importance of the trip to Zimbabwe’s foreign policy and other self-serving arguments, but in reality, this is nothing more than a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Zimbabwe may have signed up to Sustainable Development Goal 14, which talks about marine life and water bodies, but this does not mean that the President should travel to all summits and meetings dealing with this goal.
If Zimbabwe is desperate enough to attend such summits, the President could have sent Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United Nations or the minister responsible for climate.
Reports suggest that Mugabe took with him a delegation of 53 people, who are all going to get handsome allowances, and this is coming when the country literally has no money.
By skipping this trip or sending someone junior, Mugabe would have saved this country tens of thousands of dollars.
If the measures the government is putting in place to improve liquidity in the country are to work, then Mugabe has to lead the way by cutting down on such profligacy.
To add insult to injury, Mugabe just returned from Mexico, probably another needless jaunt, where Zimbabwe’s neighbours sent lowly-ranked officials, among them deputy ministers and ambassadors.
Most of these countries have better economies than Zimbabwe and yet they choose to send junior members of government, meaning they know how to prioritise and save money, and their leaders only go when it is absolutely necessary.
After all, Zimbabweans are yet to see the fruits of Mugabe’s numerous travels, as from an observer’s point of view, these trips are too many and too expensive.
We hope that Mugabe and his government introspect and realise that these trips are bleeding the economy and the money used on these jaunts can be put to better use in hospitals, schools or other social services.
Cutting down on trips does not mean pulling out of global engagements, but rather, it will be an issue about prioritising and knowing how best to deploy resources.
There is absolutely no need to attend every summit that Zimbabwe is invited to and Zimbabwe would be best served by a leader who stays at home and dedicates his energies to fixing this country, rather than a modern-day Christopher Columbus.