Mugabe flies out again

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday flew to the Equatorial Guinea capital Malabo to attend the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) while the country’s economic crisis worsens.

Zimbabweans are expecting Mugabe to address the nation on the economic crisis that has forced hundreds of companies to close down rendering thousands unemployed.

The summit runs until June 27, and will see African heads of States deliberating on strategies around improving agri-business on the continent by ensuring that political commitments are translated to concrete action.

The summit, which is also being attended by ministers of Agriculture from member States, will work on strategies of improving livelihoods of African citizens.

This is the fifth trip Mugabe has embarked on inside two months, and comes at a time when there are mounting concerns that Zimbabwe’s economy was fragile after averaging double digit growth between 2009-2012.

The 90-year-old leader has travelled to Singapore for a routine medical check-up, and then proceeded to South Africa where he attended South African president Jacob Zuma’s inauguration before flying to Dubai.

He then proceeded to Bolivia for the G77 plus China summit.

His trip comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Zimbabwe should undertake comprehensive reforms, including reducing the public sector wage bill and mobilising revenues from diamond mining to save the economy.

The IMF says the country is facing serious mid-term challenges which will require strong macro-economic policies and an enabling business environment amid concerns about government’ increasing failure to pay its workers and pensioners in time, and relying on Value Added Tax to bankroll salaries.

The tax collector Zimra has also trawled company accounts looking for outstanding obligations to finance government expenditure.

However, while an economic crisis continues to drag on at home, analysts say Mugabe was turning to foreign diplomacy to save face domestically than improving relations abroad.

Eldred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist,  said globe-trotting had always been one of Mugabe’s favourite past-times, although there could be the argument that his travels brought about new ideas.

“It is not entirely surprising that he would be travelling to discuss issues bedevilling his country but it raises questions of value addition,” Masunungure told the Daily News.

“There must be value the country realises. We have not seen these new lessons being drawn to improve the livelihoods of Zimbabweans.

“Travelling is part of his governance style. Those visits have attracted a lot of criticism because the economy is going into a comma and agriculture is not doing well either but his preference for travelling seems to loom larger than these problems.”

The Zanu PF strong man’s trip also comes at a time when there is unrest in his party where jostling for positions ahead of an elective congress in December have seen party heavy weights engaged in mortal combat.

Early this month, Mugabe admitted to the rifts widening within his 51-year-old ruling party.

Comments (12)

yawn inducing...another expensive sleep holiday or meditation as Museveni likes to call it.

Galore 123 - 25 June 2014

Madofo, kana kumba kwenyu kune nzara hamuvhakache?

damit - 25 June 2014

If he choses not to go, the same coutry men will cry loud and saying he should attend such international forums to improve his own country. If this is a business trip, why cry? The last time he boycotted because of his wife's visa denial, I remember hearing a lot of noise from the same Masunungure guys. Hey, I do not envy being in is position, hamheno Biti uyo anotorara achifunga kuti ndochigara seiko chigaro chamambo

Obert Nhoko - 25 June 2014

do you think Mugabe will loose sleep because mdc.t sympathizers want him to go or not.he is the president the better daily news acknowledge that the better they know the au first deputy chair.failure to go will not move the economy an inch better.

ole - 25 June 2014

Did you know that some government ministries have up to three deputy directors? When Mugabe goes on these useless trips which yield nothing for the country, he takes with him all such people and then some more. This summit is about improving agri-business and livelihoods of african citizens, the first step should be to undertake and finalise the land audit and boot out unproductive so called farmers. I wonder what value the newly appointed Judges who are demanding farms will give.

Dr Know - 25 June 2014

Actually our President lives very close to the airport .And he does have more flying hours than some other pilot in the industry ,ndofunga kuti ndege inonakidza kkkkkk

Tobaiwa Mudede - 25 June 2014

MDC-T does not own Zimbabwe & the money being spent on Mugabe 's numerous but useless trips does not belong to the MDC-T. It's the people of Zimbabwe who bear the cost; hence MDC-T's concern. Of course being the people's party, MDC-T has the right to complain on behalf of the people.Even the ZANU PF diehards should be concerned, that is only if they are responsible. It is the Zimbabwe economy that really suffers with everybody regardless of political affiliation.

SIMUKAHUTU - 25 June 2014

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felix - 25 June 2014

iwe Felix vanhu havana mari yestand yako.... donate to church ukomborerwe. KwaMtoko kunei?

Chidondova - 25 June 2014

I have said it before...Mai Mujuru is in charge..RG has hardly been around for more than 3/4 weeks at any time...This is RG's way of becoming a ceremonial Pres and saying to JTM...show us what u can do.

wezhira wezhara - 25 June 2014

For 34 yrs this older tired ,frail sick ,semi blind khehla has been attending these meetings look now where we are economically ,does he understand discussions and plans from these meetings? I doubt very much if he does having gone to school in the 1930s who can blame this poor son of a malawian migrant . If he loved zimbabweans and he was a zimbabwean he would use the money for these trips to help those who were affected by floods

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