ZIMBABWE sent a delegation of 264 people at a minimum cost of nearly US$1,6 million to the just-ended Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The annual UN Climate Change Conference, which ran from November 6 to 18, advances the global climate talks, mobilises action, and provides a significant opportunity to look at the impacts of climate change as well as innovations and solutions in the world.
Sources in government told NewsDay that the least paid officer who travelled to Sharm El-Sheikh pocketed US$6 000, which puts the bill at a minimum of US$1,584 million.
Hotels in Sharm El-Sheikh, which hosted the conference, charge US$120 for two-star hotels, US$350 for four-star hotels and US$500 for five-star hotels.
A list of participants seen by NewsDay showed that 10 ministers accompanied President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the conference.
These were Mthuli Ncube (Finance and Economic Development), Fredrick Shava (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Zhemu Soda (Energy and Power Development), July Moyo (Local Government and Public Works), Anxious Masuka (Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement), Felix Mhona (Transport and Infrastructural Development), Amon Murwira (Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development), Sithembiso Nyoni (Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Enterprises Development), Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu (Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry) and his deputy, Barbara Rwodzi.
Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo and several officers from his department were also part of the entourage, alongside several individuals from parastatals.
By comparison, South Africa, one of the largest economies in Africa, had fewer than 90 delegates who accompanied President Cyril Ramaphosa, including three ministers.
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Zambia had 161, while Botswana had a 104-member delegation.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said she was in India and not privy to the details of the President’s entourage to COP27.
“I am in India. Call the presidential spokesperson George Charamba,” she said.
Charamba was not picking calls.
Mutsvangwa’s deputy Kindness Paradza referred all questions to Ndhlovu, whose phone was not reachable.
The delegation included a graphic designer with an obscure group called African Renaissance Sustainable Development and a farmer from the same organisation.
There were several youth representatives not attached to any organisation.