Figures are importantMugabe 20, particularly for Zimbabwe where they simply don’t add up. Let’s start with Mugabe’s trip to the Mexican resort of Cancun less than a week after he returned from seeing his doctors in Singapore.

Mugabe travelled by chartered airliner with an entourage of three dozen people.  All of them received a daily allowance of at least $1,000. Some would have got considerably more, among them three cabinet ministers who would be obliged by the dignity of their office to stay in the best suites in the most expensive hotels. That will prove to Mugabe’s opponents that Zimbabwe is doing alright, won’t it?

Why were they in Mexico? One wonders if it was just for the expenses. The routine UN meeting on ‘disaster risk reduction’ was attended by only the odd head of state like Mugabe who, this time, was apparently denied his usual grand-standing opportunity. Mugabe is said to have left Mexico ‘not too pleased’ before the conference ended. His entourage was presumably ‘not too pleased’ at losing some per diems out of the millions of dollars in cash that Mugabe takes with him every time he moves (or is this cache only for his own expenses?).

Some more figures: last year Mugabe made more than 20 trips abroad, spending $36 million in ten months according to the finance ministry. This year has seen no slowdown.

Herald scribe Mabasa Sasa, who was one of the $1,000 a day fellow travellers, came up with a scoop: President Mugabe told the media on arrival home that ‘natural and manmade disasters that Zimbabwe has experienced in recent years have made Government wiser to the need to prepare for such exigencies’ – such as not building homes in waterways. He went on to report: ‘President Mugabe was welcomed at Harare International Airport by Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers and other senior Government officials, and service chiefs.’

Vice-President Mnangagwa will no doubt have given Mugabe the happy news that the government had exceeded Zanu PF’s election promise of creating 2.2 million jobs. This is indeed news to the 90%+ of the population who are looking for work.

MDC-T legislator Eddie Cross, in an article on corruption in Zimbabwe, says ‘I can think of 4 Ministers in Government whom I am prepared to say are honest and not involved in any material corruption – but the rest, 30 of them, are rotten to the core and do not miss an opportunity to make a margin on anything over which they have control.’

He continues: ‘The evidence of corruption on a massive and pervasive scale is everywhere – estates of homes that would look good on a Hollywood Boulevard. Ministers, earning a few thousand dollars a month, accumulating tens of millions of dollars of property, luxury cars with wives and girl friends swimming in luxuries of every kind. Even Mr Mugabe, who earns a very modest salary, has luxury homes in Harare, Zvimba, South Africa, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Head of a Medical Aid Society that provides medical cover to the Civil Service; steals US$35 million in three years, is fired and no further action is taken.’

Perhaps it’s time Mr Mugabe gave up his travels and paid some attention to what is going on at home.

Author: N/A

Source: The Zimbabwean

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