First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa last week reportedly chartered a private plane to Belarus with her twin sons, Collins and Sean.
NewsDay reported that Mnangagwa and her entourage hired a Gulfstream G550, whose average hourly rental rate is around US$10 900.
It takes an average of 10 hours to travel from Harare to Minsk, the Belarusian capital and this means a one-way trip costs US$109 000.
Media reports from Belarus indicate that Mnangagwa met with President Aleksandr Lukashenko to discuss government business.
Under Zimbabwean law, first ladies do not hold official government positions.
It is not yet clear under what arrangement Auxillia is conducting business on behalf of the State.
On Tuesday, pictures emerged of her engaged in a meeting with Lukashenko and his aides.
Pictures of the First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa and her sons in the company of controversial businessman, Aleksander Zingman, meeting Belarusian Foreign Affairs minister Sergei Aleinik were posted on the Information Ministry’s social media pages last Friday.
Zingman was appointed honourary consul for Zimbabwe by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2019.
Presidential communications secretary Regis Chikowore told NewsDay that he could not comment on matters involving the First Lady.
When presidential spokesperson George Charamba was asked whether the First Lady’s Belarus visit was official or private, he kept saying: “Hello, hello, hello”.
Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Livit Mugejo also referred all questions to the First Lady’s office.
Addressing the media in the Belarusian capital, Minsk on 11 April 2023 after meeting Lukashenko, Mnangagwa said there were no topics deemed off-limits during the meeting. She said:
We had a wonderful meeting with Mr. President. There were no closed topics between us. I felt absolutely at home. We discussed absolutely everything.
I can see now that our cooperation will move forward. He [the Belarusian president] has one important thing that we have, too. He is able and willing to work hard.
… I saw the care he takes for his country and his people. We saw how they take care of the children in hospitals.
That is why I told him: “Mr. President, let me tell you that you are not only a father – you are also a mother to your country.”
Unusually, she did not travel with journalists from the State media.