Mugabe’s 70-member entourage to UN meeting in New York includes family

By Kurauone Chihwayi

MDC joins the rest of the nation in expressing outrage at President Robert Mugabe’s latest globetrotting venture disguised as attendance to the United Nations Summit in New York scheduled for September 19 to 23 in which he takes along a whole 70 people among them his entire family as part of his entourage.

President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport yesterday. The President is in Paris to attend the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Picture by Presidential photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)
2015 File Picture: President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport. The President was in Paris to attend the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Picture by Presidential photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)

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 when the state media reports that the cost of living has gone up again by 0.52 per cent. Only a few relevant government officials are adequate for the summit.

It therefore boggles the mind as to what value the extra members of the entourage, including the President’s toddler grandson, are supposed to add in this diplomatic mission.

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.

We know that this is yet another opportunity for Grace Mugabe to exercise her expensive shopping prowess in New York, which millions of suffering Zimbabwean can only dream of. Since the beginning of the year we have witnessed President Mugabe’s foreign trips taking up millions of dollars in tax-payers’ money while yielding absolutely no tangible benefits for the ordinary Zimbabwean.

Meanwhile millions of hungry Zimbabweans continue to spend the majority of their time in bank queues daily anticipating a few measly dollars of their hard earned cash. The Registrar General’s office has reportedly run out of money to print passports and hospitals have run out of ARVs.

These are just a few of the serious crises the country is facing at the moment, but President Mugabe’s government saw it fit to waste desperately needed cash on this vacation for his family and friends.

This arrogant notoriety by President Mugabe continues to teach us that it will be forever impossible for the nation to undergo vigorous economic transformations which will improve the lives of millions of citizens who continue to be submerged in abject poverty if power remains with Zanu PF.

Kurauone Chihwayi is the MDC (Ncube) National spokesperson

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