OPPOSITION parties and civic groups have expressed outrage at reports that President Robert Mugabe’s delegation of more than 70 people to the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly will blow over $10 million in allowances at a time the country is facing a crippling cash shortages.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA/SILAS NKALA
They accused Mugabe of being selfish and insensitive to the plight of suffering Zimbabweans.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu yesterday said Mugabe’s decision to travel with his entire family, including his grandson, Simbanashe, was an indication that the Zanu PF leader takes the nation as his personal property.
“This just goes to show that Zimbabwe has now been reduced into a Mugabe family fiefdom. We are now a de facto Mugabe (Private) Limited company. The State has been captured by the Mugabe family. Robert Mugabe is the chief executive officer and his wife, Grace, is the chief operating officer. This is a tragedy of monumental proportions. Cry the beloved country,” he said.
Lawyer, Fadzai Mahere took to Twitter in shock saying the fact that each person on Mugabe’s delegation earns $1 500 a day when most Zimbabweans do not earn that much in a year was an insult.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC said this was a globetrotting jaunt disguised as an international engagement, which they described as the height of irresponsibility.
“It is a heart stopper to learn that the 10-day trip will see each member of the delegation gobble over US$15 000 — at a time people are sleeping in bank queues, going for months on end without getting salaries,” the MDC said.
The MDC said the Mugabes, who are banned from travelling to the United States, were using the trip for personal business.
“It is a no brainer that since the First Family is barred from travelling to Europe on personal business, they see no shame in using important government trips such as these for vacation purposes,” the MDC said.
Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, refused to shed light on the delegation accompanying his boss, saying it was a security issue.
“As a matter of protocol and principle, Charamba will never comment on the President’s travel plans, his delegation and any other issue because it’s a matter of security. Do you want me to tell you that he will have snipers and their location? That’s a matter of security,” he said.
This Constitution leader, Abigale Mupambi said: “Citizens are either ignorant or cowards. Citizens, who are the real owners of this money, which is being abused, must claim their position to hold these officials accountable. This is clear madness.”
People’s Democratic Party Bulawayo organiser, Bekithemba Nyathi said it was “insane” that such a huge delegation was travelling with Mugabe when the nation faces serious cash shortages.
Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo said it was sad that the trip had no likelihood of benefiting the country.
Indications are that Mugabe is expected to address world leaders on September 21. Although the summit runs from September 19, Mugabe and his delegation are expected to depart on Saturday.