Mugabe travelled by chartered airliner with an entourage of three dozen people. All of them received a daily allowance of at least $1,000. Some would have got considerably more, among them three cabinet ministers who would be obliged by the dignity of their office to stay in the best suites in the most expensive hotels. That will prove to Mugabe’s opponents that Zimbabwe is doing alright, won’t it?
Why were they in Mexico? One wonders if it was just for the expenses. The routine UN meeting on ‘disaster risk reduction’ was attended by only the odd head of state like Mugabe who, this time, was apparently denied his usual grand-standing opportunity. Mugabe is said to have left Mexico ‘not too pleased’ before the conference ended. His entourage was presumably ‘not too pleased’ at losing some per diems out of the millions of dollars in cash that Mugabe takes with him every time he moves (or is this cache only for his own expenses?).
Some more figures: last year Mugabe made more than 20 trips abroad, spending $36 million in ten months according to the finance ministry. This year has seen no slowdown.
Herald scribe Mabasa Sasa, who was one of the $1,000 a day fellow travellers, came up with a scoop: President Mugabe told the media on arrival home that ‘natural and manmade disasters that Zimbabwe has experienced in recent years have made Government wiser to the need to prepare for such exigencies’ – such as not building homes in waterways. He went on to report: ‘President Mugabe was welcomed at Harare International Airport by Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers and other senior Government officials, and service chiefs.’ (See: http://www.herald.co.zw/zim-ups-disaster-mitigation-drive/.)
Vice-President Mnangagwa will no doubt have given Mugabe the happy news that the government had exceeded Zanu PF’s election promise of creating 2.2 million jobs. This is indeed news to the 90%+ of the population who are looking for work.
MDC T legislator Eddie Cross, in an article on corruption in Zimbabwe, says ‘I can think of 4 Ministers in Government whom I am prepared to say are honest and not involved in any material corruption – but the rest, 30 of them, are rotten to the core and do not miss an opportunity to make a margin on anything over which they have control.’
He continues: ‘The evidence of corruption on a massive and pervasive scale is everywhere – estates of homes that would look good on a Hollywood Boulevard. Ministers, earning a few thousand dollars a month, accumulating tens of millions of dollars of property, luxury cars with wives and girl friends swimming in luxuries of every kind. Even Mr Mugabe, who earns a very modest salary, has luxury homes in Harare, Zvimba, South Africa, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Head of a Medical Aid Society that provides medical cover to the Civil Service; steals US$35 million in three years, is fired and no further action is taken.’
Perhaps it’s time Mr Mugabe gave up his travels and paid some attention to what is going on at home.
- The Vigil did not forget Africa Day. We remembered by ending the Vigil by singing ‘Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica’ with special fervour.
- We were joined by members of the MDC who asked us to publicise a protest about the diaspora vote on Wednesday 14th June. More details of this later.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Vimbayi Chambara, Joseph Chivayo, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Theodora Mandishaya, Roseline Mukucha, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Charles Mupawose, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Casper Nyamakura, Emilia Nyamhandu, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Pearl Shambare and Rufaro Zondesa, Thanks to Roseline, Tsitsi and Pearl for looking after the front table, to Esther, Cephas, Faith Ndhlovu and Flemming Diza for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Charles, Daizy, Margaret, Vimbayi and Isabell for putting up the banners. A special thank you to Nyarai Masvosva who brought sadza and stew to sell to raise funds for ROHR’s ZimPAP project and to Daizy and Margaret for selling and serving the food. Thanks also to Bev Mutandiro for bringing savoury snacks, bananas and fruit juice for us to share.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.
FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 3rd June from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 3rd June from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 10th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- MDC demonstration on the Diaspora Vote. Wednesday 14th June outside the Zimbabwe Embassy London. Further details when we have them.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
Facebook pages:ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/