Top hotel for budget seminar

Faced with a $700 million year-end budget deficit, the free-spending unity government is booking over 200 legislators into the Elephant Hill Intercontinental Hotel in Victoria Falls for the Pre-Budget Seminar.

 The luxurious 5 star Elephant Hills hotel in Victoria Falls.
The luxurious 5 star Elephant Hills hotel in Victoria Falls.

All the MPs will be at the 5-star Elephant Hill complex, in the resort town of Victoria Falls, from November 2-5, at cost of over $44 100 a day. The final tab could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Critics say Zimbabwe cannot sustain or afford this waste. Hotel bills alone for the lawmakers will be $176 400, excluding charges for the Speaker, who will reportedly be booked into a suite averaging more than $300 a night.

During the Vic Falls seminar, the state will pay conference fees, transport costs and accommodation charges. The swanky Elephant Hill consists of 276 elegantly furnished bedrooms overlooking the golf course and the Zambezi River.

Finance minister Tendai Biti said the seminar was good for exchanging ideas on the forthcoming budget and the economy. Biti is expected to present Zimbabwe's fiscal position and press the legislators to give input to next year's spending plan.

"The wastefulness and profligacy is now reaching endemic proportions," said social commentator and academic, Prince Chenjerai. "Couldn't they book themselves in a cheaper place? Did they have to go to Vic Falls? The money they plan to spend in Vic Falls could have saved the struggling national airline."

Chenjerai said the legislators were enjoying the perks of office while doing next to nothing. "This is a wasteful, reckless, licentious and decadent system of governance," he said.

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