HARARE- Government made frantic efforts to pay off a US$1,5 million debt to secure the release of an Air Zimbabwe plane impounded in London mainly because President Robert Mugabe wanted to use it on his medical trip to the Far East.
US firm American General Supplies (AGS), which supplies the national airline with the bulk of its spares, impounded the Boeing 767-200ER at Gatwick Airport. For nearly two weeks hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport with government showing no urgency to resolve the matter.
But Nehanda Radio.com has information that Mugabe wanted to use the plane last week Friday and was livid his plans were delayed. Not only did the 87 year old dictator want to go for urgent medical treatment he was determined to attend the funeral of fellow dictator, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il who died last week.
The government eventually bailed Air Zimbabwe paving the way for release of the plane which arrived back in Zimbabwe on Sunday. Even after payment was made aviation authorities in London refused to release the plane because it had a defective landing gear which they insisted should be fixed before departure.
Mugabe was also unable to use Air Zimbabwe’s other B737-200 aircraft because it had no oxygen cylinders. Although Mugabe wanted to travel to North Korea it was looking more likely he would miss the funeral of Kim Jong-il whose father trained the notorious Fifth Brigade army unit. Nehanda Radio.com