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PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will take a delegation of 31 officials, most of them aides from his office, on his trip to China on Saturday.

The size of the delegation, which includes the Premier’s new wife Elizabeth, immediately attracted allegations of profligacy from state media.

Tsvangirai leaves for barely a week after returning from a family trip to the United States as well as business trip to Austria where he attended a Centre for Global Dialogue and Cooperation (CGDC) conference.

Tsvangirai will take seven aides on the visit which follows an invitation by the Chinese authorities, the Herald newspaper reported Thursday.

“The PM, whose party has been accusing Zanu-PF leaders of extravagance on foreign trips, is also travelling with seven directors from his office,” the paper reported.

On the delegation will be State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo, Water Resources Management Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo, Tsvangirai’s secretary Ian Makone and his spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka.

Zimbabwe has pursued a so-called Look East Policy after falling out with the West over allegations of human rights abuses and electoral fraud over the last decade.

But President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party accuses its coalition partners of giving the policy less than half-hearted support.

Speaking ahead of Tsvangirai’s first ever trip to China, presidential spokesman George Charamba said: “It is helpful in consolidating the Look East Policy. We will be singing from the same hymn book. The President’s Look East Policy has vision and that is why everyone is fitting into it.”

While in China Tsvangirai is expected to hold talks with his counterpart Wen Jiabao and meet with officials from companies involved in Zimbabwe such as Eximbank of China, CAMC Engineering Company, Sinohydro and Sinosure.


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