Mugabe spending millions but how much is ACP meeting costing PNG?
Bob alone at Papua New Guinea summit
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will be the only head of state attending the 8th summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) in Papua New Guinea next week.
Opposition parties immediately condemned the latest foreign jaunt amid reports Mugabe has spent $80m so far this year travelling abroad.
Harare has yet to confirm the 92-year-old will travel to Port Moresby for the meeting.
However, sources told NewZimbabwe.com that Mugabe would, Friday morning, take his Air Zimbabwe to Gweru for a graduation event at the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) after which he would fly to southwestern Pacific nation.
With its economy in the tank, Harare has appealed for help to feed 4.5 million people threatened with hunger this year after a severe drought.
Government is also struggling to pay civil servants while Zimbabwe’s ambassadors and staff have gone without pay for months and some now face eviction due to unpaid rentals.
Papua New Guinea will host the ACP leaders’ summit between on Tuesday and Wednesday next week with 79 countries said to have confirmed participation.
50 heads of delegations are expected – including a president, four vice-presidents, 13 prime ministers, one deputy prime minister, one speaker of the national parliament, 14 ministers and 16 ambassadors.
The host country’s Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato said “the president was Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe”.
The Zanu PF leader has hardly been in the country for a week after travelling to Singapore to pick up his family and newly born grandson.
Prior to the South East Asia visit, Mugabe was in South Africa for centenary celebrations at Fort Hare university after travelling to Uganda for President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration.
MDC-T spokesman, Obert Gutu, it was incredible that Mugabe was again leaving the country barely a week after returning from Singapore.
He said the Zanu PF leader never passes an opportunity to escape from the country costing the “bankrupt treasury $80m this year; and we are not even halfway through the year”.
“Mugabe is wasting this money at a time half the country is facing starvation due to a severe drought. That is why we have said this he is no longer fit for purpose and must resign.”
Jacob Mafume, spokesman for the PDP added: “Mugabe suffers from an excessive attention seeking sickness.
“He is like a man who messes up his own house with his waste and keeps leaving the house because the house smells.
“He has created a country where even he cannot live for more than a week. Just recently he was stopped by the Indians from attending a street party in India. He even sends his daughter to give birth out of the country so that he can visit
“Mugabe has become an international laughing stock and a moving museum, if not a flesh and blood archaeological piece. How they continue to parade him for all and sundry is beyond belief.”