President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba has come out guns blazing, berating those criticising his boss for excessive foreign travel as dwelling on trivia.
Charamba said Mnangagwa is not so much fond of flying but rather working around the clock to restore the country’s lost glory.
State Media reports that some political analysts and veteran politicians have scoffed at critics of Presidential international trips saying it is President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s diplomatic and political obligations to represent Zimbabwe at international forums in line with his re-engagement process.
The veteran politician has poured cold water on some media spin doctors and critics of recent Presidential foreign trips saying it is the duty of the President as Head of State and Government to fulfill all international diplomatic mission.
Cross gave examples of President Mnangagwa’s visits to Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as essential towards the new dispensation’s realignment drive to put Zimbabwe back on the world map.
“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 mission are planned well six months before. The President has a diplomatic and political obligation to fulfill international mutual agreements, so all his trips are justified,” explains Cross.
Critics should also understand it is the norm worldwide and it is above board for Presidents to use a comfortable and efficient jet for his trips.
“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 with the jet, it was fast for him to come back and attend to Cyclone Idai,” added Cross.
It’s tragic that some media spin doctors who do not understand the importance of foreign policy are at the forefront to criticise Presidential-trips at a time Cde Mnangagwa is championing the re-engagement process, notes chair for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs Kindness Paradza.
“It’s real tragic because President as Head of State and Government has a diplomatic mandate to fulfill, the President can delegate if he sees it wise to do so, but to stock him for driving the core business outside the country is some tragic, this is totally shameful,” Paradza retorts.
It is indisputable President Mnangagwa’s international trips have taken him to China where he signed mega deals which are in various stages of implementation.
Several mega deals have also been signed with Russia, while closer home more deals were entered into under the Bi-national Commissions with Botswana.
With the UAE, President Mnangagwa signed big deals before even receiving a helping hand comprising medical and food disaster relief aid distributed to the affected victims of Cyclone Idai.
Since assuming office through a bloody coup in November 2017 President Emmerson Mnangagwa has engaged in about trips with a purpose of either courting investors or seeking to return to a family of nations.
This week Zimbabweans reacted angrily to Mnangagwa’s continued hiring of expensive jets to travel on during his trips yet the country is suffering.
Analysts said this globetrotting by Mnangagwa (which is contrary to the austerity for prosperity policy) is a business scheme to syphon money via allowances and a travel agency which is allegedly owned by on Mrs Mary Chiwenga.
December 2017: Pretoria, South Africa
January 2018: Davos, Switzerland
January 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
January 2018: Luanda, Angola
January 2018: Lusaka, Zambia
January 2018: Windhoek, Namibia
January 2018: Maputo, Mozambique
February 2018: Gaborone, Botswana
March 2018: Gaborone, Botswana
March 2018: Kinshasa, DRC
March 2018: Kigali, Rwanda
April 2018: Beijing, China
June 2018: Nouakchott, Mauritania
June 2018: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
July 2018: Johannesburg, South Africa
August 2018: Windhoek, Namibia
September 2018: Beijing, China
September 2018: New York, United States
October 2018: Lusaka, Zambia
November 2018: Conakry, Guinea
November 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
January 2019: Moscow, Russia
January 2019: Minsk, Belarus
January 2019: Baku, Azerbaijan
January 2019: Astana, Kazakhstan
February 2019: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
March 2019: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
March 2019: Luanda, Angola
March 2019: Pretoria South Africa
– Daily News