Chinamasa defends Mugabe trips

via Chinamasa defends Mugabe trips – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2015

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday defended President Robert Mugabe’s frequent trips abroad at a time the economy is imploding, saying he was a diligent person discharging his duties as head of African regional blocs.


Chinamasa was responding MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese’s question in the National Assembly about the cost of Mugabe’s trips to the economy.

Gonese said since Mugabe became African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chairperson, he had gobbled lots of money on trips when the country was reeling in poverty and failing to pay staff at foreign embassies.

“Does government have a policy to exercise fiscal prudence in the context that they are failing to pay diplomats timeously yet we have a situation where the President, who is AU and Sadc chairman, is always travelling?” Gonese queried.

“This year alone, he has already made more than 15 trips outside the country accompanied by a very large delegation and drawing very large sums in per diems — and is government committed to reducing expenditure in light of the predicament we are facing as a nation?”
Chinamasa said Treasury exercised the utmost fiscal diligence, saying they had been able to sustain the economy against declining revenue inflows.

“We were accumulating a lot of liabilities during the Seventh Parliament.

“I hope you are not making a criticism of the President’s trips because he is chairman of AU and Sadc, and he will be in that position until January next year,” he said.

“He is a diligent person and he is discharging his duties to his utmost ability more than any other past chairmen due to his concern for pan-Africanism.”

But Gonese pointed out that other African leaders did not attend every meeting, adding at times they sent their deputies or even ministers, which Mugabe never did.

“Delegating is the discretion of the principal and I do not see the practicality of an AU or Sadc chairperson delegating their duties,” Chinamasa said.