Mugabe New York trip gobbles public funds

via Mugabe New York trip gobbles public funds – The Zimbabwe Independent by Elias Mambo September 27, 2013

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week took a delegation of about 80 people that included cabinet ministers, security aides and support staff to attend the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that started on Tuesday in New York, it has emerged.

Insiders say Mugabe left the country with a large entourage of officials and hangers-on who have turned the annual UN meetings into a shopping opportunity mainly as a result of travel bans imposed on the President and some members of his Zanu PF inner circle since 2002.

“The effect of such trips on the fiscus is unbearable considering that we have just come from an election that gobbled up more than a hundred million dollars,” a senior government official said.

Using Treasury circular No 8 of 2009 and at a minimum per diem rate of US$300 for the United States, government would have had to fork out a minimum of US$120 000 for the delegation for five days on the trip. But the amounts are likely to be much higher now and sources say up to US$500 000 would be spent.

The source also questioned why Mugabe should go to New York and spend five days when some leaders normally attend only important meetings, leaving after a few days.

“Most of the leaders only attend important meetings and leave after a few days, but Mugabe and his team are likely to spend five days before his address yet everyone knows how expensive New York is,” the source said.

Mugabe, accompanied by his wife Grace, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and senior government officials, left the country a week before the day he was supposed to address other world leaders, yesterday.

In 2010 Mugabe stole the media limelight after he was spotted browsing in a downmarket drug store in New York.

Karen Kelley, US Embassy Harare spokesperson and counsellor for public affairs, refused to state how many visas the embassy processed for Mugabe’s trip.

“Due to the confidential nature of the visa issuance process, we are unable to provide statistics on the question of the number of visas issued for government of Zimbabwe officials attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York,” Kelley said. “What I can confirm is that the US Embassy’s consular section processed 100% of the visas requested without any delays.”

Another government official said since the meeting coincides with the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) summit, Mugabe should have taken with him only ministers of Foreign affairs, Health, Labour and Social Welfare and Education.

“It does not need 80 people,” said the official. “What he needs are the relevant ministers, supporting staff and aides, not an army of officials.”



  • comment-avatar
    MikeH 11 years ago

    When the rare opportunity arrives everyone likes a good shop-up and especially so when someone else is paying. mugabe&co are no exception. Makes the so called sanctions a joke though and none more so than where mugabe’s wife is concerned. What the heck! has she got to do with government business ???

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    Tjingababili 11 years ago


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    Russell 11 years ago

    They are just a bunch of arsehloes

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    Rudadiso 11 years ago

    Mugabe’s rule is all about foreign travel, corruption and the relentless misuse of the country’s resources. In 33 years he did not miss a single gathering of heads of states, be it at the UN, AU or SADC.

    A president of a country in which 2.2 million people are without food takes a delegation of 80 people to one of the world’s most expensive cities. He then gives the exact same speech he has given for the past decade. Clearly the man is a joke.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 11 years ago

    Zimbabwe is cursed with Mugabe. Mwari dai mwapindira

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    Charles Chamunorwa 11 years ago

    Why is it that each time Mugabe goes UN General Summit he addresses the summit? With over 100 heads of state and government at the summit it will take many days if each one of them addresses the summit. I think something somewhere is wrong because I don’t think other heads of state and government address the summit at each and every summit. If somebody can help me here.

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    Inini 11 years ago

    Remove sanction the Mugabes will be shopping in London that’s why the man is bitter.

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    guy Gusu 11 years ago

    If he hates the west as he claims, why devote most of his speech saying ‘shame, shame, shame the US, Britain and their allies? Do they care about this erstwhile rhetoric? He knows where the real power is. What is the point of saying ‘Zimbabwe will never be a colony again, when you have allowed the Chinese to colonise Zimbabwe? In any case who would, in their right senses, want to recolonise a country you have systematically ruined for your selfish ends? Shame! Shame! Shame Mugabe!

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    ZimJim 11 years ago

    For crying out loud, we ALL know he’s an a’hole.

    God will get him. Its only a matter of time.

    Besides, he’s not in charge anymore anyway.

    The “Security” forces are.

    Let them have one last fling. It will be good evidence for the prosecution when they stand trial at The Hague. 😉

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    Dharma Appavoo 11 years ago

    Why did you not denounce the cost of maintaining the various illustrious European royal families with their multiple Castles, Art Collections, mega-yachts, and life-long Holidays. Strangers and Foreigners pay the bill. At least Mugabe re-captured the land and bestowed personal dignity and national pride to its natives.