PRESIDENT Robert Mu-gabe is wasting time and resources globe-trotting to attend low-key conferences like the just-ended African Economic Platform held in Mauritius when he is supposed to be spearheading Zimbabwe’s economic revival efforts.
Editor’s Memo Faith Zaba
Mugabe this weekend returned from the two-day forum, which was attended by various intellectuals, business leaders, civil society, the private sector and political leaders.
It seems Mugabe was the only head of the state at the forum officially opened by Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
Other heads of state and government were represented by their deputies, ministers and in some cases, speakers of parliament. As usual, Mugabe stuck out like a sore thumb.
Instead of wasting precious resources at a time government is virtually bankrupt, Mugabe should be focussing on the country’s myriad problems.
Mugabe, who squandered more than US$30 million in the first 10 months of last year gallivanting around the globe, has neglected the problems at home, which include a deepening economic crisis characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, low capacity utilisation of less than 50%, widespread company closures and close to 95% unemployment.
Indeed he has become the country’s own version of Christopher Columbus, the difference being that Mugabe has very little to show for his numerous trips except a pile of useless MOUs, whose details are never revealed.
Currently needing his urgent attention are flood victims. As a result of heavy flooding caused by incessant rains induced by Cyclone Dineo, to date 251 people have been reported dead, over 2 000 people displaced, livelihoods disrupted while infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and water resources sustained heavy damage.
Instead of clocking more flying hours, Mugabe should be visiting flood victims, particularly those in the southern parts of the country. Areas that have been worst affected by the floods are Chiredzi, Kanyemba, Lupane, Mwenezi, Mberengwa, Insiza and Tsholotsho.
Government has declared the floods a national disaster and set up a cabinet committee on emergence preparedness and disaster management chaired by Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
It is not only cruel but also uncaring of Mugabe to spend millions on his foreign junkets when there are people, through no fault of their own, who have been left destitute.
The hiring of a plane from the Middle East for a whooping US$1 million, to travel to Ghana and Singapore is further evidence of the incredible selfishness of the doddering leader.
This was after his party spent more than US$1,1 million on his lavish 93rd birthday bash in Matobo.
Mugabe has in the first three months of this year, in addition to these trips, also gone to China and Lesotho, further depleting government’s coffers which are already constrained, not only by the need to pay wages for its workers, but also by last year’s bonuses as well.
That Mugabe went to Singapore for treatment as the country’s health workers went on strike at home, resulting in the loss of many lives, speaks to a leader who has clearly lost the plot insofar as running the country is concerned.
That Mugabe goes to attend Ghana’s 60th independence celebrations, and only to be captured snoozing at the ceremony is testament that the nonagenarian has overstayed in his office. His continued tenacious grip on power is now inimical to the country’s well-being.
This rubbishes his spokesperson George Charamba’s disingenuous defence of his boss, who said that diplomacy does not come cheap.
Mugabe’s dereliction of duty has not only become a national liability, but also an embarrassment.
It provides clear evidence that his time is surely up.