ED trips: Cross  triggers a storm

FORMER MDC official Eddie Cross has triggered a storm following reports that he supported President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s penchant for flying in luxurious jets.

Opinion is sharply divided over Mnangagwa’s costly foreign trips at a time the country is mourning the death of over 300 Cyclone Idai victims.

In the midst of efforts to locate missing persons in Chimanimani, Mnangagwa left for a day’s visit to Angola last week.
From Angola, he headed to South Africa for yet another official visit.

But what infuriated his friends and foe alike was his decision to hire a luxury jet from Dubai to attend a meeting with the civic society in Bulawayo. 

According to reports, the Airbus A318-100 flew seven hours and 16 minutes from Dubai to position in Harare, ahead of Mnangagwa’s flight from Harare to the second city.

An influential figure in the country, Cross told ZBC TV that “all trips by the president are very significant and essential, the spin by the independent press that the president’s trips are gobbling the fiscus are unfortunate. Look, some of these missions are planned well six months before. The president has a diplomatic and political obligation to fulfil international mutual agreements, so all his trips are justified”.

He went on to say that “the president should travel comfortably and on time so this issue of a hired jet, some are hired by his counterparts so it’s not fiscus money always, more so it is important like what happened when he had to trips to Russia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) with the jet, it was fast for him to come back and attend to Cyclone Idai”.
In the wake of the ZBC report, MDC’s David Coltart took to social media yesterday, connoting that the former MDC legislator had probably been misquoted.

“The ZBC has posted that Eddie Cross says that Mnangagwa’s foreign trips on luxury aircraft and his hiring of aircraft from Dubai to fly to Bulawayo is justified. I presume that if he has been misquoted, he will refute this story,” he wrote.
Contacted for comment by the Daily News yesterday, Cross insisted that there was nothing sinister about Mnangagwa’s flight to Bulawayo.

“I believe it was justified because it was made available to him by the sultan of the UAE for a week; the special jet was made available for the President’s disposal for a week. That’s what I believe,” he said.

Leader of Gwanda Residents’ Association, Bekezela Maduna Fuzwayo, said it was shocking how members who desert the opposition suddenly become the ruling party’s ambassadors.
“It can never be justified; we don’t know what has come over him (Cross). It has become a trend that members who leave the opposition all of sudden start speaking good about the ruling party. He is eyeing something; very soon we will hear that he has landed a post,” he said.

Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said although this was a clear misuse of funds, it was worrying that the reason behind Mnangagwa’s visit to Bulawayo had been overshadowed by the rancour over the mode of transport used.

“I personally don’t condone the misuse of public funds; but I also feel people are now ignoring the real story, the Gukurahundi issue that the president flew here to discuss. For the first time this issue is being discussed openly without fear. People are not talking about what was discussed during the meeting,” he said.
The Affirmative Action Group’s Matabeleland Chapter president Reginald Shoko said Cross’ sentiments were justified.

“From a macro-economic perspective, Cross was right in saying the president was justified; the national airline is only flying one plane and we cannot expect him to take it off route each time there is a trip,” he said.

“Sometimes we have to look at the office and not the individual. We have to respect that he is the Head of State, we could not expect him to fly with the public on the national airline.”

    Comments (12)

    The MDC reactionaries wanted him to use a Kombi to cross the Gulf may be. And they want to compare a state prersident to a non-entity leader of an opposition party. ED PFeee Mwanangu!!

    willo - 30 March 2019

    Ngumuntu...lekhiwa elimnyama. Yikuswela , poverty ; bakhula bengelakho , besidla isichwala le chukela. Abalemali kabambuluzi , bayatshova amabhayisikili , kumbe ibhasi , o khameruni , o Bhorisi even lo Makhroni. Kangiso muntu otandaza abantu labo abathathu , ngiyabazi....ngiyedlula ngingabuki kumbe ukubingelela bese stritini , kabaso business lami. Ubaba uMnangangwa ngizaguqa sibili ngithandaze , ngikhothiswe isicathulo.

    1st n 3rd worlds. - 30 March 2019

    Ama salaries abantu bonke abasebenzela ukulumende lo menisparathi kumele efakwe emapepeni ekuqaleni komnyaka , financial year , kanye lemikolo yabakhokheli , ipaliyamenti lama diplomats. KUYACEDA sizabona lapo esiyakhona , ama problems esinawo etc. Ukuba ngu president akusho ukuthi nguwe okola enengi ukuyedlula umuntu wonke hashi , noma e amerikha kunjalo. Ma u director we Byo Royale ekola ukuyedlula upresident okupetwe ukuyedlula ishumi , kaliso cala ma inkamba eg Byo Royale i pefoma kahle , ilama revenues asuthisayo - ZAR 5.5Bn RB/JHB-SE , engazithathela i ZAR10Mn emnyakeni. Ukulumende kaliso business ngumsebenzi. Hikho besithi yi Private Jet , ngeyama business. Kuzathatha isikhathi eside ukuthi i zimbabwe ithuthuke , 50+ years.

    Imali lemikolo ku government - 30 March 2019

    Ama credit card awama civil servants apezulu kumele apatwe kahle. Akula sikwama esingaciniyo , i civil servant kayimelanga ingene e BURJ AL ARAB ku constituency yakhe kulendlala , i price kayinkulu , kodwa ukuziyehlisa ku right , give that extra US$500 ABANTU ABADUBEKAYO eg cyclone idai. I data leyo eyama khadi iyatholakala akuthathi sikhathi , noma umuntu engasebenzisa elinye igama. Abathanda imali kabaye ku private sector beyoyilungisa be free.

    Fairness le trasparence - 30 March 2019

    The ZW circus rolls on and on with entertainment everyday for all to see and laugh about - hey its nearly April fools day comrades

    ace mukadota - 31 March 2019

    Eddie Cross is eyeing a licence in fuel importation that is why everything zanupf is now rosy for him. The President's budget and expenditure is supposed to be a public matter discussed at length by parliamentarians including all the allowances for his hangers-on in the absence of that speculation and quite rightly so will be rife. A people's president will forego all his other duties especially in instances of disasters, our beloved ED does not seem to grasp such a basic requirement. The Newzeland lady leader is a current shining example on this matter well done Jacinda. It is absolutely wrong for anyone and government for that matter to think that the Head of State is the only best ambassador for Zimbabwe a lot of foreign visits by ED can be well and better represented by embassies or foreign ministry bearing in mind the dire state of the economy. Only a fool will put on a jacket and tie, hired luxury jets only to go and beg only crooked states will welcome such a beggar. ED's dish sampling trips will not bring a dime to the economy its stupidity not to accept this fact.

    Sinyo - 31 March 2019

    Eddie Crook must go back to Scotland , end of.

    Home is over there.... - 31 March 2019

    The government and presidency owes citizenry an explanation, no one will make such a huge donation. Transparency requires that the government explains why UAE made such a colosal 'donation'

    Widzo - 1 April 2019

    Magufuli the president of Tanzania flies economy,why should it be an issue for ED to do likewise.Tanzania`s economy is better than Zimbabwe`s.Its a pity i bleed for my country.

    mordillo - 1 April 2019

    Whilst I recognize the need for international travel, I do not see the need to squander our minimal resources on decadent luxury. Why not book the entire First Class section of any commercial airline for these trips. This would be a fraction of the current method .

    David - 1 April 2019

    Why can't UAE donate fuel for industry and commerce rather than a Jet that benefits a couple of people?

    Sagitarr - 4 April 2019

    I have always said people like Cross have interests that dont align with those of the masses. This is a Rhodesian we are talking about

    kudzi - 6 April 2019

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