Mnangagwa blows $2,3m on China jaunt

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly gobbled over $2,3 million to charter a private Swiss luxury jet to the Chinese capital, Beijing, sources in the aviation industry claimed yesterday.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mnangagwa, who arrived in China on his first State visit to the Asian country since he took over the levers of power from his predecessor, Robert Mugabe last November, has been accused of snubbing the limping national airline, Air Zimbabwe, preferring chartered private jets.

In January, Mnangagwa also hired a private jet to Davos, Switzerland, as well as when he travelled to South Africa early this year.

“Air Zimbabwe had offered to take the presidential delegation to China for $1,9 million but government opted for a luxurious private jet owned by Switzerland-based aviation management company, Comlux at a cost of $2,3 million.

“This probably excludes costs related to the crew for the eight days of the President’s State visit to China,” a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said adding Mnangagwa used Comlux’s most prized asset, the VIP Boeing 767.

According to internationally-recognised rating agent, S&P Global, Comlux is rated as an integrated group in the aviation sector specialising in Airbus and Boeing, with the former typically chartered by heads of state, royal families, business leaders or sports teams.

The aircraft includes a private bedroom with en suite bathroom, office, dining and living room, plus room for entourage and staff.

It has cargo space for over 250 bags, and can even transport multiple cars.

Comlux’s Goana describes BB767 as “probably one of the most amazing aircraft in the VIP charter markets”.

It can fly 15 hours non-stop and has a capacity to carry 60 passengers with facilities that allow the “principal to be ready for business on landing”.


Chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda yesterday said he had no information on Mnangagwa’s travel arrangments.

“I would not know such things. I deal with administration of government. (Chief of protocol, Munyaradzi) Kajese would have a better idea,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s special adviser, Christopher Mutsvangwa said:“It’s a long flight … needs non-stop capacity … Air Zimbabwe flights have no similar capacity, as they have to make a refuelling stop-over. Our bilateral State visit need not needlessly burden third countries with security and protocol.”

Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer, Joseph Makonese would also not be drawn into commenting on the matter, claiming he was away on holiday.

“I am not aware because I am on a break. Ask our communications manager, (Tafadzwa) Mazonde,” he said.

Mazonde was not available for comment.

Efforts to get comment from Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Joey Bimha were futile.

The new Zanu PF leader, who seems to have taken over from where Mugabe left in terms of trips outside the country, has been to Mozambique, twice to Botswana, Namibia, DRC, Zambia, Angola, Rwanda, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast inside the last three months.

The government has in the past few years unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate Air Zimbabwe.

29 Comments

  1. With each passing day ED is becoming more the same as his former boss Mugabe. All talk & no action, nothing has changed, this is Animal Farm in the making

  2. So our country is in trouble;has a misfortune of getting along with wrong leaders all the time;after Mugabe’s penchant with planes & expensive foreign travel,we had lodged our hopes with ED,thinking that he cares with the struggling economy,now is at it again like his predecessor now using the opportunity to travel with family members,unnecessary large entourage of gvt officials when our hospitals have no medicine,our road in bad shape.After the trip,each member is going to b paid colossal figures of money in the name of attendance allowance fr the same empty state confers at the disadvantage of the ordinary man!oh shame god forbid!

  3. “…with facilities that allow the principal to be ready for business on landing…” That’s it! Why use the ailing Air Zim planes that of late have been notorious for developing faults mid air? Naysayers people would have preferred the President to have used a bullet train to Beijing!

  4. If at all,there is a real reason for such trips,why should the president travel only with at most 5 people- may b a wife & two other relevant guys-the foreign affairs guy(minister) who must combine as the minister of international trade(the wisdom of combining related ministries making a small cabinet)& may b also the reserve bank governor guy & in addition only members of his security team;if at all the purpose of the trip is only to woo the needed foreign investors;and at least to show that he cares for his country with dilapidated economy& suffering masses rather than creating opportunities for his family & friends in gvt for foreign travel

  5. Takazvitaura izvi tikati hapana chinochinja apa. Mbudzi kudya mufenje. Lord have mercy on us. Look at us tosvika riini tiine leaders who are insensitive to our plights.

  6. GIVE” MN ” A KICKUP OF THE ARSE, TELL HIM THAT MUGABE CHANGED THE CONSTITUTION
    & THAT THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION IS OK
    GOD YOU RHODESIANS HAVE “THICK” PEOPLE RUNNING THE COUNTRY

  7. IMBAVHA IDZI HAA ZVOGUMBURA LRT US GO AND VOTE

  8. Someone said something like ‘same drink but different container’. It’s now making sense. Birds of the same feather ……..

    1. Tichatonga ndoo zvazvinoita pakutonga…. Gara pasi and get facts. Lets be sober about this. Our problems are 37 yrs old and dont expect to have overnight solutions… anyone promising you miracles overnight is lying. Its a pity kuti our politics is all about “Tapinda tapinda”. Its all about now its our turn to “Eat” and squander resources.. Even the opposition chaiyo, guys get ready for serious disappointments. The Opposition also are human beings and once they are in also surely they are going to “Eat” big tym.
      Look at what MDC T councillors have done to the City of Harare, of coz also one may mention the interference of Chombo and Kasu. So all Im saying is that at Local Govt level they messed up, how about at National level? So mark my words, we will witness yet again a new round of corruption using new methods. People of Zim, munhu munhu chete. Dont put your whole trust in politicians hoping that they will be your Saviour and deliver everything on silver platter…. Saka Tichatonga we will see as your name says Pamuchatonga. Vamwe ma Aspiring MPs and Councillors tirikutaura navo and this nyaya yekuda kudyawo is cancerous indeed and we will always lag behind….

  9. taneta nembavha idzi

  10. With due respect, one would not expect the President of the country to risk travelling in Air Zimbabwe on such a long journey. Besides it was going to cost $1.9m with Air Zim, only $400 000 less than Swiss luxury line. In my view the extra $400 000 is worth it to avoid the risk, and the extra costs of security on stop overs in other countries. It’s quite possible that it is Air Zim that is raising the issue as a big one to get their back on ED after being snubbed. I would much rather we criticize the President for not sorting out Air Zim’s problems sooner rather than later

    1. Thats a level headed and sober comment and observation. Thank you kwete zvekungo vukura and kutuka

      1. saka ndozvavakaendera vakawanda kudaro here?

    2. Was it necessary for him to make that trip in the first place. U want facts??? How many presidents have made so many trip this year besides Mnangagwa.

      1. INHODZERA

  11. Safety concerns rank high in deciding which operator to use. i think the President with his transport Minister should solve Air Zim challenges

  12. Our comments should reflect some common sense. Its the height of stupidity to compare ED’s trips to those of the deposed dictator. ED travels for two specific reasons, namely: the resustation of our economy and reengaging zimbabwe with the international community. Lets give the president a credit for that. As for hiring planes, who in his normal senses would hire the ramshackle air zim unless one is on a suicide mission. What is $2.3 m when the country stands to benefit billions in direct investments? Let us not just criticise for the sake of criticising

  13. Saka aifanira kuenda here kuChina nemaKombi ? You must offer the alternative he shd have done and the saving it was going to give the country. Or you are saying anofanira kugara muno muZimbabwe asinga bude kuenda out to tell the Zimbabwean story ?

    1. Concerned Citizen

      hameno nhai, vanhu vanorwara sure

  14. Giribald Nyoni

    In my opinion, there is anything amiss here. Fo instance, we are not being told if the expenditure is coming from the Presidential budget or from any inappropriate source. If sourced from the Presidential fund as allocated through the publicly presented Government budget, all is well but if that vote has already been exhausted and funds are now being diverted from other neccesities, then its desirable to raise the red flag. Therefore, if this story is merely a space-filling factual account, it will not excite much or raise eyebrows.But if its supposed to be an investigative piece, it should be able to trace sources of funding especially if the sources are inappropriate.
    Also, lets be realistic that Air Zimbabwe and in the past there have been complaints galore about its being diverted towards non-profitable journeys of some sort and now that its being left alone to do its business without unpaid-for diversions, we cry wolf. Lastly, the late Father Zimbabwe was known to have been a recipient of Tiny Rowland’s benevolence in terms of air travel and in this instance are not privy to whether the Chinese extended the same kind of benevolence or not.
    In any case, the kind of financial benefits that may come out of the journey may far outpace the figure that gave birth to the story.

  15. Are Mutakura & Fari getting the sense of such a spending of public money by only a bunch of high ranked individuals in gvt in the face of failing by the same gvt to pay hospital procurement bills for required medicines& roads repairmen-ts in dilapidated state etc.If the trip so important why not the two men-the president & his minister of foreign affairs took the journey in a small plane may b only costing some few thousands or else he delegates that trip to a small relevant group of specialists& designated figures for that task including the foreign minister& he remains in the country to save money.Again it is an overstatement that he is re-engaging with china when we hv bn always engaged with china in the look east policy

    1. TAURA ZVAKO MWANA WAMAI, DOCTORS ARE STRIKING, TEACHERS GOING TO BECAUSE WE HAVE NO MONEY AND WE BLOW SUCH KIND OF MONEY. TRUE WHY NOT GO WITH A LEAN AND VIBRANT DELEGATION PANE KUENDA VAKAWANDA. MNANGAGWA KNOWS HIS FORMER MASTER’S TRICKS YEKUITA MARI.

  16. Damn, that means that there will be no US$ in the banks for the next 4-5 months.
    Hey Tichatonga: the saying was ‘same old s..t, just different a…holes’.
    A trip to China brings absolutely ZERO benefits to Zimbabwe – it will all be : take, take, take.

  17. hmmmm opposition opposittion lord have mercy do you even consider wat the delegation is going for and at whose invitation.we are talking of the 2nd largest economy in the world and the president of that country is eagerly waiting for the zim delegation to sign mous and you expect him to be stranded in thailand namazarura wedu.you expect ED to go ther alone on such a business trip and you cry about him going around the region sadc to appraise them on the take over .MUNOOOPEEENGAAAA TIKWANIREI KANA MASHAYA NYAYA DRAWAI MACARTOON.#ED HASMY VOTE

    1. CHIMUNHU CHAKAPUSA ICHI

  18. Hapana hapana, arikumamira ngwena wenyu uyu.

  19. ehe ngakumbodyawo vamwe not ZANU YEGA its better Chamisa adyewo

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