PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Mr. George Charamba has said Zimbabweans must focus on the benefits to the nation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s foreign trips instead of complaining about the costs incurred on his travels.
In an interview on Star FM radio last night, Charamba said Zimbabwe is in the process of re-engagement, and, “in any case, let us not forget that diplomacy does not come cheap.”
“(They) will continue to gobble for the simple reason that when the President is taking on an assignment like engagement and re-engagement, promoting Zimbabwe as an investment destination, that is a spending item. Let us not make any qualms about it. Money will be spent to make sure we sell Zimbabwe as an investment destination, to make sure we present Zimbabwe’s case in respect of turning its mineral resources into exploitable resources that can lift the livelihoods of Zimbabweans. So when we talk austerity measures we do not close Zimbabwe as a shop,” said Mr Charamba.
On why the President hires a plane when travelling abroad, Mr Charamba said “precisely because we have an ailing Air Zimbabwe”.
He, however, said efforts were being made to resuscitate Air Zimbabwe.
“If you were following reports you will be aware we have taken receipt of planes from Malaysia and there are two planes that are on their way to Zimbabwe. Then when the President was in Ethiopia just recently, there is promise of an agreement Ethiopian Airlines and Air Zimbabwe to try and improve the Air Zimbabwe fleet level. There are lots of things that are happening except we are dealing with the policy of engagement and re-engagement which cannot wait. There are certain costs which we have to incur. In any case let us not forget that diplomacy does not come cheap,” he added.
Mr Charamba said it was wrong to concentrate on costs of the President’s foreign trips instead of benefits accrued.
“I think the misconception is the template that we concentrate on the costs and do not play up the benefits which are accruing to the economy. I will give you an example of the Eurasia trip by President. I can assure you in the next few months, the public transport system is going to change in a very dramatic way, thanks to that particular trip. Buses will come which will decongest our roads to ensure that there is safe travel and is also better productivity on the part of the workforce,” he said.
“You will see the Darwendale platinum project will soon start in the process creating several jobs, several hundreds of jobs. That is creation of employment. You will see mega investment along the Zambezi River of an agricultural nature including agro-processing.
“You will see a picking up of tempo by way of mining activities in the country which is why we had Minister (Winston) Chitando as part of President’s delegation. That is also why we had Minister (Perrance) Shiri representing the agriculture sector as part of the President’s delegation.”