Harare – Zimbabweans “should not just look aside and watch as their country is being run by a tyranny and corrupt regime that doesn’t care about the suffering of the people”, the opposing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said.
In a statement sent to News24, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu, took a swipe at President Robert Mugabe over his numerous foreign trips, which according to reports is costing the country millions of dollars.
Mugabe 91, left Harare on Tuesday to attend a United Nations (UN) conference on Ebola in New York. Reports said this was his 22nd foreign trip this year.
The nonagenarian was accompanied by his wife Grace and several government officials.
Officials from Mugabe’s office maintained that Mugabe was attending the conference in his capacity as the African Union (AU) chair, according to the report.
But the MDC said the trip to New York was “completely unnecessary”.
“The MDC is deeply appalled by the decision of Robert Mugabe to embark on another costly and completely unnecessary jamboree to New York in the United States to attend to some low key conference on Ebola,” Gutu said.
Gutu added: “While the country’s economy is virtually grinding to a halt, Mugabe has seen it fit to take along his wife and a whole litany of other Zanu PF hangers-on to attend a conference that is hardly topical to the key interests of Zimbabwe as a nation.”
More than 11 000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been killed following the Ebola outbreak in December 2013.
The conference is set to ensure that the affected countries receive the necessary support and resources to combat the disease.
Gutu said the country’s national economy was in “deep deflation mode”, as Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party remained clueless on what to do to rescue the situation.
“The national economy is in deep deflation mode as Robert Mugabe and his moribund regime remain clueless as to what to do in order to rescue the situation. For how [long] shall the peace – loving and downtrodden people of Zimbabwe bear this untold political subjugation and socio – economic bondage at the hands of the insensitive and corrupt Zanu PF regime?”.
Gutu accused Mugabe of running the country “aboard an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 jet” as he spent more time “globetrotting and leading life on the fast lane at the expense of a virtually banckrupt national treasury”.
Reports last month estimated Mugabe trips this year alone to have cost about $70m.
The veteran leader was in Mozambique recently, attending that country’s 40th independence anniversary. Before that, he was in South Africa for the AU summit. He has also been to Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and Egypt.
Mugabe has also been to the Far East five times this year alone.
The country’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa last month defended Mugabe’s trips abroad, saying he (Mugabe) was a “diligent person discharging his duties as head of African regional blocs”.
“I hope you are not making a criticism of the president’s trips because he is chairperson of AU and SADC [Southern African Development Community], and he will be in that position until January next year… He is a diligent person and he is discharging his duties to his utmost ability, more than any other past chairpersons due to his concern for pan-Africanism,” Chinamasa was quoted as saying.