ZIMBABWE – HARARE – The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has lambasted President Robert Mugabe for attending the G-20 summit in Turkey even though Zimbabwe is not a member of the grouping.
“The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies of the world. Zimbabwe is not amongst the 20 major economies of the world and as such, we are not part of the G-20,” MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said.
The official explanation is that Mugabe is there is his capacity as the chairman of the African Union (AU) but Gutu argued that “this is a very disgraceful and nebulous excuse for Mugabe to attend the G-20 summit.”
Mugabe’s presence “is actually a gross embarrassment” given the country is “ranked amongst the twenty poorest in the world. Mugabe is not in any way involved in the actual business of the discussions being conducted by the visiting heads of government.
“Effectively, he is just a bystander. It therefore boggles the mind why Robert Mugabe and his wife, accompanied by a huge entourage of not less than 60 people, are in Antalya purportedly to attend the tenth annual meeting of the G-20,” Gutu said.
Gutu said Mugabe and his huge delegation chartered an Air Zimbabwe jet to travel to Turkey even though “the national economy is presently in a comatose state and the government is struggling to pay salaries and bonuses for civil servants.”
“Mugabe cannot be purporting to be representing Africa at the G-20 meeting because only one African country is a member of the G-20 and that country is South Africa. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is representing his country at the Antalya meeting.
“Robert Mugabe has a penchant for costly foreign travel. In 2015 alone, he has embarked on no less than 40 foreign excursions at the expense of the national treasury that is virtually bankrupt. Even his annual leave and Christmas holidays are routinely spent in faraway places in the Far East,” Gutu narrated.
“Instead of promoting local tourism by spending his holidays in Victoria Falls, Kariba or the Eastern Highlands, Robert Mugabe almost invariably travels to Malaysia, Singapore or Hong Kong for his annual holidays; at huge expense to the struggling exchequer.
“As the MDC, we call upon Robert Mugabe to learn to cut his cloth according to his size. Because of the ruinous economic policies adopted by his regime over the years; coupled with rampant corruption and gross mismanagement, Zimbabwe has been reduced from being the breadbasket of Southern Africa to becoming a basket case.
“Mugabe should be ashamed of the damage that has been brought upon the economy of Zimbabwe as a direct result of decades of his misrule,” Gutu added.