13 June 2014

Zimbabwe: 'Absentee CEO' Mugabe in Bolivia

Photo: Nehanda Radio
President Robert Mugabe (file photo).

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, recently criticised by the opposition for his costly and regular foreign trips, arrived in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz Friday afternoon for this year's Group of 77 summit.

Founded in 1964, the 133-member G-77 plus China coalition is considered the largest bloc of developing countries within the United Nations.

It articulates and promotes collective economic interests for the development of the regions through South-South cooperation.

Arriving in Santa Cruz with his delegation which includes foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi Mugabe said: "We must move forward together politically, socially together, together culturally and strengthen the bonds of unity."

The Zimbabwean leader has however come under fire from opponents back home for his frequent and costly travel abroad at a time the country's economy continues to struggle.

"The CEO of the country (Mugabe) is hardly in the country, which is a reflection of the deterioration," opposition leader and former finance minister Tendai Biti said early this month.

Mugabe was in Singapore for his annual holiday in January and flew back there in February to have his eyes attended to.

In April he was in Italy for the joint canonisation of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II at the Vatican City.

He was off to Singapore again in May for another of his "routine eye check-ups" and, on returning, passed through Harare on his way to President Jacob Zuma's inauguration in South Africa.

Biti claimed that the two trips to Singapore in January and February cost country about US$5 million.

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