Zim feels pain of Mugabe health junket

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s medical costs, especially his regular shuttle to specialists in Singapore, are an expense bankrupt Zimbabwe cannot afford, financiers say.

He left for Singapore again on Wednesday and returns to Harare next Thursday, his third medical trip to Singapore in 90 days.

The cost of this trip will be at least R20 million, which will be covered by the State, and is being off-set against a hurriedly made arrangement to briefly attend a disaster risk conference in Japan which began on Friday.

Mugabe charters the national carrier’s only long-haul aircraft, a Boeing 767, for intercontinental flights, and it is one of only three planes still operating for Air Zimbabwe.

Air charter financiers in Harare costed the latest trip, based on rates regularly charged by Air Zimbabwe, at R10 million for Mugabe’s route, including two stopovers in Singapore and one in Japan. 

“We estimate that AirZim only survives because of Mugabe’s trips as his office pays promptly and the airline is, in effect, bankrupt without cash from the presidency,” said the financial director of a busy privately owned air charter company in Harare.

The per diem advance allowances for Mugabe’s aides, who each get R18 000 to cover hotels, food and some transport, will cost about R8 million in total. At least 50 aides boarded the plane with Mugabe. 

Mugabe’s medical costs at Parkway Hospital in Singapore will set Zimbabwe’s taxpayers back at least a further R200 000. His other costs such as transport and accommodation bring the total bill for this latest medical excursion to more than R20 million. 

Mugabe went to pick up his wife after she had surgery in Singapore in January. He then took his family and several aides and other family members and friends to Singapore and the United Arab Emirates(UAE). 

The Mugabe family is now spending ever more time in the UAE these days in between medical appointments in Singapore.

Taxpayers will, as usual, fund Mugabe’s trip, according to government spokesperson George Charamba.

Much of Mugabe’s medical costs since 2008 apparently arise from prostate and cataract surgery with unconfirmed rumours he had cancer. 

As the economy continues to decline, there are ever more voices saying Mugabe’s lifestyle is no longer affordable.

Zimbabwe owes the International Monetary Fund R1, 24 billion and is only repaying R2 million per month, according to finance minister Patrick Chinamasa. The IMF says Zimbabwe cannot apply for loans until it has repaid its debt.

Economist John Robertson said Zimbabwe could not afford the Mugabe family. “Zimbabwe’s diplomats haven’t been paid for months. We have been expelled by Fifa from the 2018 World Cup because we cannot pay a coach. We are in dire straits and we cannot afford these kinds of extravagant foreign trips. Is he (Mugabe) saying he is more important than anyone else?”

Mugabe’s presidential expenditure is not defined in the national budget as it is dispersed among other budgets such as the Cabinet’s. - Independent Foreign Service

Comments (11)

He knows well that there is nothing passive zimbos will do nothing. From Japan Mugabe will spend two weeks in Singapore chewing millions of dollars on his health.

zvituta - 16 March 2015

hey i would like to sympathies with the Mugabe family for the poor health of the old starts man but that must not be a burden to the nation as it was said in that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and it must be able to have better qualified doctors to take care of him . He is just like living in diaspora because there is nothing for him in zim when he wants to shop he goes to Singapore and UAE when he wants to go to the hospital he goes there so he must just leave Zimbabwe and stay overseas and we will choose a competent president and a fresh someone with a minimum expenditure .This man is our president but please forgive me he is too old for anything he must just rest let him enjoy life before its late how stupid are we to ruled by someone who is 91 cant we have someone else to replace him

mukanya - 16 March 2015

This man is far too old to be the President of the country he is a good man but surely he needs some rest he has been in the pressure cooker for too long look at the bills that he is pilling on our country as if we dont care what are we waiting for . Let every citizen start taking stoke of ones self and decide to move forward .Lets all enjoy zimbabwe not one man he is living in diaspora just imagine when he wants to go for shopping he goes to singapore and uae and when he wants a doctor he goes there so he must just go and stay there what are we saying to ourselves as Zimbabweans are we that stupid to let one man leave us so miserable please let it be he is too old and unhealthy let him enjoy his last days we must move forward as a nation there are things that we cant let go like our country but one man for heavens sake lets all be human and choose a young and healthy President

mukanya - 16 March 2015

nothing wrong with the president seeking medical help from foreign countries. many nationals do the same. most african leaders go elsewhere for treatment. perhaps the point that is valid is that it may be wise for him to retire. there is no need to use bad language on anyone more so on our leader. lets be a bit more civilised.

taurai - 16 March 2015

Lets keep our fingers crossed the evil one is feeling untold pains which forces him to seek help from foreigners once it strikes . He must be having sleepless nights from the fully blown cancer and very soon those doctors someway in Asia will fail to help him and that is when we will pop out sharpens rejoicing .

Diibulaanyika - 16 March 2015

GOD WILL HEAL OUR GOOD LEADER WE PRAY.

JIKINYA - 17 March 2015

hey taurai where is the bad language you are talking about? there are only comments what wrong about that

bullfrog - 17 March 2015

At least he keeps the airline alive and all those jobs, so what is your problem? Arikutogona mudhara uyu.

reason - 17 March 2015

IIh amunawoye munemoyo diko here. unhu here wokuti munorasa munhu nokuti akura. Munodaro ngei this is against our African values. Ndipo pekuti mochii appreciator ndipo mochiotaura zvisingabviri ba. Chimbozviisaiwo panzvimbo ngipo munzwe kudzimba kwemashoko ndiwo.

Anonym - 17 March 2015

ngeipi nyika yamunonzwa yechinyomba its president the way you do. munarespecter akuru enyika meni

Aonym - 17 March 2015

Sorry @bullfrog its an overspill from comments elsewhere. i only wanted to persuade some of our friends who scold the leader unnecessarily. my apologies hama.

taurai - 17 March 2015

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