Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Mnangagwa says UAE trip private jet paid by hosts, what of the other 29?

by ZimLive
30 Mar 2019 at 17:57hrs | Views
After a week of criticism over a mounting foreign travel bill, President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday said ONE of his THIRTY foreign trips was fully paid for by his hosts.

After coming to power in a military coup at the end of 2007, Mnangagwa has drawn public criticism over his love for foreign travel – all undertaken in luxury private jets.

Zimbabweans reacted with shock last week after the Zanu-PF leader hired a private jet, a VIP Airbus A318, from Dubai to fly him from Harare to Bulawayo and back.

Mnangagwa addressed his party's central committee in Harare on Friday where he, contradicting his spokesman, insisted that his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates was fully paid for by his hosts. He offered no information on his other 29 trips.

"I was in Abu Dhabi where I was invited by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi," Mnangagwa said. "They looked after us well then we hear some saying we have hired a plane for that visit. Forget about that. They sent us their plane. We never paid anything as Zimbabwe. The Crown Prince sent us a huge plane to carry us and it returned us (home)."

Mnangagwa said he had told Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Sultan Al Nahyan that "we have a challenge of planes so every time I want to travel I will just call and he will send us the plane."

"So those who don't know were just parroting what they don't know and I just laughed it off," said Mnangagwa.

He maintains that the foreign trips "will cumulatively have a positive impact", maintaining that his aim is to end Zimbabwe's isolation.

Last week, Mnangagwa's spokesman George Charamba said it was the government paying for the president's foreign trips, including the trip to the United Arab Emirates.

"You ask me who's footing the bill for the president? Well, who is flying in this case? The president right, so who do you want to foot the bill? It is the government because he is not travelling for his personal business," Charamba told The Standard.

He went on: "This is what international engagements come with. We would want to be part of the global village and we have to carry the cost. I often hear people say this and that, but if we want that global presence, the state has to meet the cost that this comes along with."

Local commute … The Airbus A318 which flew Mnangagwa from Harare to Bulawayo and back after it was hired from the UAE

Mnangagwa's critics said his admission that a foreign state had paid for his travel was worse than having taxpayers footing his travel bill.

"I don't know if Mnangagwa is getting any advice or he simply ignores it. Does he really believe the luxury jet was free? How can there be such a naive view of international relations at that level of government? Does he not know that this constitutes a recipe for state capture?," said Alex Magaisa, a former adviser to the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Thabisa Sibanda commented on Twitter: "Mnangagwa and his incompetent advisers need to be reminded that a president who accepts free chartered planes is a captured one. Do they honestly think a captured president is less corrupt than a wasteful one?"

Mnangagwa's deputy Constantino Chiwenga also does not fly commercial, and like his boss hires private jets from the Middle East.

Mnangagwa's Foreign Trips Since Taking Power in 2017 (Source: ZimLive)

    December 2017: Pretoria, South Africa
    January 2018: Davos, Switzerland
    January 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    January 2018: Luanda, Angola
    January 2018: Lusaka, Zambia
    January 2018: Windhoek, Namibia
    January 2018: Maputo, Mozambique
    February 2018: Gaberone, Botswana
    March 2018: Gaberone, Botswana
    March 2018: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
    March 2018: Kigali, Rwanda
    April 2018: Beijing, China
    May 2018: Doha, Qatar
    June 2018: Nouakchott, Mauritania
    June 2018: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    July 2018: Johannesburg, South Africa
    August 2018: Windhoek, Namibia
    September 2018: Beijing, China
    September 2018: New York, United States
    October 2018: Lusaka, Zambia
    November 2018: Conakry, Guinea
    November 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    January 2019: Moscow, Russia
    January 2019: Minsk, Belarus
    January 2019: Baku, Azerbaijan
    January 2019: Astana, Kazakhstan
    February 2019: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    March 2019: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
    March 2019: Luanda, Angola
    March 2019: Pretoria, South Africa

Source - ZimLive